Let Go and Let God
During my career as a fitness instructor, one observation stands out: Those who are willing to “Let go and let God” make the most progress in their lifestyle habits. This reveals how important it is to take into account the role that stress plays with regard to health, and to alleviate stress by making God our primary focus.
Let me explain.
The primary reason an average person starts an exercise program is to lose body fat. But very often frustration takes over well before the weight is lost.
It is difficult for a person to understand the fact that his or her body has actually become efficient at storing fat. On the other hand, people who seem to be forever lean can eat whatever they want without gaining weight, because their bodies are very efficient at burning fat.
This leads to the following conclusion: If you want to lose weight, the best thing to do is stay off the scale! The scale is a false god that many people worship every morning. It dictates for many how their day is going to go. If they want to lose weight, and they actually do lose, they feel better. But if they don’t, they feel worse.
The reality is this: The scale does not show the real truth, because the individual has perhaps rehydrated his body, added some muscle, or has a little extra abdominal content from a large meal. The weight loss he is rejoicing over might just be from dehydration and muscle loss.
For those wanting to gain muscle, a similar concept comes into play. Again, stay off the scale! Those who are most successful in weight training are those who train the best that they can for the glory of God. It is about serving God to our fullest, presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God (see Romans 12:1).
When stress becomes a factor, an overweight person may tend to hold onto fat, while an underweight person may actually become leaner. Doing all to the glory of God takes away stress and sets us free to succeed!
A similar phenomenon can be seen in people who are trying to lower their blood sugar, blood pressure, or blood lipids.
One man who came through our lifestyle program was progressing beautifully. His blood pressure and blood sugar had decreased to normal levels. After receiving a stressful phone call one evening, however, his numbers jumped significantly the next morning. Both his systolic blood pressure and blood sugar elevated 50 points. The next morning, after spending some time with our counselor, his numbers returned to normal.
Stress clearly played a role, which in turn affected his perception of his success in the program. Stress also plays a significant part in the strength of our immune systems.
“Autoimmune” has become the new buzzword in the medical community. People’s immune systems are failing them, or worse, even turning against them. But lifestyle changes are extremely effective in correcting autoimmune disorders. We’ve seen numerous people who have battled fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome for years become pain-free in a very short period of time through simple lifestyle changes.
The key to all this is the same—to acknowledge that our bodies are not our own. They were bought with a price, and that price is the blood of Christ (see 1 Cor. 6:19). How are we taking care of the gift He gave us? Remember, He told us He is coming back to take back what is His. If all we eat and drink, and whatever we do is done to His glory (see 1 Cor. 10:31), we will have the results we seek, whether it be weight loss, muscle gain, or reversing disease—as long as we remember to “Let go and let God.”