People from all ages and cultures prove one thing time and time again.  Humans are tough.  Hollywood makes stories every year of these accounts of toughness.  Movie names like Castaway, Hidden Figures, Rudy, and the like remind us that we are capable of incredible acts of courage that can motivate others, no matter how removed they may be from our lives.

When our lives are in jeopardy, and our identity is compromised, we survive by tapping into the deepest resources. We persist in concentration camps by finding beauty and hope in simple things.  We come back when we are down 4 touchdowns.  We fall down, get up, and still manage to win an Olympic championship.  This aspect of our divine workmanship is our identity.  Toughness is hardcoded into our being. Yet, how is it possible that it can become a liability?

Yet, when it comes to safeguarding our health, we discard our toughness.  What is missing?  Why do the complex life changes that the outside world imposes on us seem routine while changes in diet and exercise habits seem overwhelming?  I have thought about this and have not only some explanations but some thoughtful responses from the position of a Christian athlete.

There are two reasons that I can point to and fix that are causes.

  • We lose alertness to our losses because we fail to measure. We track the stock market, and we rapidly make changes when we are losing. We add air in our tires when we see the indicator tell us we are low.  Yet, we don’t consistently weigh ourselves and monitor our diets.   God created us in His image.  He loves to measure.  He measures the days of Creation, the height of Goliath, the size of the Temple, and the dimensions of the ark.  We need to get on board with his vision for us and start measuring.  Instead, we allow the shame of our failures to keep us from using a tool that He modeled for us.
  • We don’t set up criteria for success.  Our supervisors and work evaluate us and often convey to us, in advance, what success looks like, so at our annual reviews, we are not surprised at what we hear.  We don’t do that with our health, and we need to make our criteria.  We don’t need to take anyone else’s criteria and adopt them as our own.  We all know the things we can’t do but want to.

The question that is most at the forefront of my mind is why don’t we go out and get what is good for us?  Pause for a moment and imagine if we took care of ourselves like you we were someone we sincerely cared for?

What does that look like?  It wouldn’t include much of what we do to ourselves today.  The idea of Ignoring the needs of heart health and body weight management would seem insensitive.

Yet, we need a response of greater power than one provided by logic.  Humans aren’t inspired by logic.   As a Christian, I could lead my faith and add nothing else, but my years as a coach have shown that leaving the best for last is often the best strategy.

On the way to base camp

Pick up your Cross!  If you are committed to God’s word being truth, take not just to heart but also to action that God calls us to treat our bodies like the temple.  Sure, it is hard work to establish a committed relationship with an exercise regimen, but we are called to do this.  The temple was the holiest place on the Earth for literally a  thousand years. Indeed, you are called to do the same thing for about 80 years.  Taking care of yourself requires toughness, whether you like it or not!

Finally, you must confess your sins.  There is a reason that Weight watchers work for millions of people, and they start each meeting with a public weigh-in and disclosure of “facts.”  Get friends and supporters who are not like you but who are like who you want to be.  Fat friends will not inspire you to lose weight.  Find friends who are already there and can inspire you.  Tell them what is going on.

You see what you aim at.  Aim high and take a page from Hollywood.  You really can do amazing things.