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Achieving Greater Health God’s Way

Updated Jan 10, 2024
Achieving Greater Health God’s Way

We all need to reduce the amount of stress in our lives. But how do we do that?

Like so many, one of my main goals for the new year is to lose some weight. Fluctuating hormones, extra stress, and too many holiday cookies have all contributed to excess weight gain. It's tempting for me to want to follow one of the diet plans that comes across my television set during January. God wants me to have good health regardless of what my scale says. How do I do this when my age makes it more difficult each year to lose weight? Here's how I learned to achieve greater health in the new year God's way: 

Don’t Follow Fad Diets

The first thing I had to realize was that every diet plan out there is just that—a fad. All of them are based on principles that achieve short-term results but cannot be sustained long-term. Either they require lots of money each month to pay for meals or supplements, or they boast only protein and no carbohydrate meals which may help some quick water weight to fall off, but eventually comes back once the carbohydrates come back into the diet. It is better for me to figure out the reasons behind my weight gain. Not only does my age, as well as some health challenges, contribute to this gain, but also inflammation. If I can learn how to lower the inflammation in my body, it will not respond in such a way where cortisol increases and weight increases in my midsection. I must also balance stress, get enough rest, and drink more water. 

Additionally, the Bible says we shouldn't follow the diets of others but rather follow the people who love the Lord. For example, Daniel saw that the king and his men were all eating food sacrificed to idols (a practice prohibited by God), and because he would not bow down to the king, the king got upset. Daniel told him he would only eat vegetables and drink water for ten days. At the end of those ten days, he assured the king he would feel better and be healthier, and he was right: “Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance with that of the young men who eat the royal food and treat your servants in accordance with what you see.” So he agreed to this and tested them for ten days. At the end of the ten days, they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food (Daniel 1:12-15). 

The new year is a great time to follow a biblical diet of fish, vegetables, and bread with no leaven: common staples found in the Bible. By following God's diet, we can lose weight and be healthy, so God can use us to serve every day of our lives. 

Break Bad Habits

Sometimes I get caught in a rut, especially with my eating. I get into bad habits like eating in front of the TV or eating dessert every night to blow off steam from a stressful day at work. But just as good habits can add up, so can bad habits. Because bad eating is so accepted, it is difficult for people to keep us accountable when it comes to our eating habits. Take a moment to ask the Lord what he would want for us in terms of our diet. Just as we want to honor the Lord with our worship, our bodies are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, we must care for them just as we would any other vessel of worship. We need to do our best to honor God with everything in our lives, including our bodies.  

I ask the Lord what is one habit I have that I may want to break. This can be anything from eating too many sweets, to not drinking enough water, to not sleeping well to more serious behaviors, like drinking alcohol, smoking, or vaping. I can make this the year I get rid of the bad habits that may hinder me from worshipping the Lord in intimate ways. It may be difficult, but taking one baby step at a time to break my habits may be the thing that God wants for me. 

If you don't know how to get started on breaking a bad habit, start with fasting. The best way to break something that's excessive in our lives is to fast from it. For example, if you watch too much television, fasting from television for seven days may be the way to go. It will be difficult for the first couple of days as you're getting out of the bad habit of watching a screen all the time. However, when you can replace it with hobbies and other things that will enrich your life and create better relationships, the better off you will be. Start small and see where you go from there.

Replace Bad Habits with New Ones 

Once I've broken the bad habit, I need to replace it with something good, or it will be tempting for me to return to the bad habit. For example, if I stop drinking soda, I must replace it with something good. Water is a great replacement as it's what our bodies crave. The more water we drink, the less hungry we are and the more satisfied our cells and muscles will be. Dehydration leads to many diseases when our cells are not getting the hydration they need to function properly. I must find something to replace the bad habit with before I start breaking the bad habit. Replace it with something you know you can stick with in the long term. Don't stick with something you don't like or have never tried before. Ask someone to keep you accountable if necessary.

Reduce Stress  

One of the best things we can do for our body is to reduce stress. We all endure too much stress in this technologically advanced world. With many people working from home, as well as computers and other technological advances allowing us to access e-mail and other communication 24/7, it may be more difficult than ever to get the rest we need. Through proper rest, we often let cortisol build up in our bodies from the stress of life. This, paired with not having enough Sabbath or recreation, and stress take a toll on our bodies. We all need to reduce the amount of stress in our lives. But how do we do that?

Pinpoint the source of your stress. Is it the demands of work? Perhaps putting boundaries in place where you don't access your computer after a certain amount of time even if it's tempting to get extra work done will be helpful. Your body needs mental rest, physical rest, and emotional rest to function at its prime. Additionally, vacations are also important, even if you just stay at home. It's important to take a rest regularly from our work. When we do this, we are more productive when we return to work than if we work straight through the months. Although financially it may be difficult to take a vacation, find creative ways to take the time that you need to enjoy life a little bit. Life is short and is meant to be enjoyed, not just endured. 

If vacation is out the question, find a hobby you enjoy. Allow your mind to wander with activities that will take your focus off work and other stressors. For example, journaling, painting, and other artistic forms can help. Reading or taking a walk can also be helpful. If affordable, take a spa day relax, or even just take a hot bath. Taking that extra hour to enjoy yourself, read a good book, and to focus on yourself will really help lower the amount of cortisol in the body and allow your body to rest as it needs. 

Health is the number one resolution people make to improve themselves. However, it is difficult to maintain health when we don't have a good plan in place. Follow the advice above and implement some new strategies into your life to make this the healthiest year going forward. 

Photo Credit: ©iStock/Getty Images Plus/fabrycs

Writer Michelle LazurekMichelle S. Lazurek is a multi-genre award-winning author, speaker, pastor's wife, and mother. She is a literary agent for Wordwise Media Services and a certified writing coach. Her new children’s book Who God Wants Me to Be encourages girls to discover God’s plan for their careers. When not working, she enjoys sipping a Starbucks latte, collecting 80s memorabilia, and spending time with her family and her crazy dog. For more info, please visit her website www.michellelazurek.com.