It starts with Halloween and ends on New Year’s Day. This isn’t about the holidays, but the food we eat to celebrate them. From the abundant candy, to the first turkey, and on until the last football bowl game snack, people eat their way through the season. And then comes January 2nd. What are they to do with all those added holiday pounds? January usually sees the biggest rise in gym membership as many resolve to shed the weight. But sudden resolutions can dissolve into frustration, unless one has a plan.
As Christians we know it is prudent to avoid excess and eat in moderation. We can feel guilt when we go over board at the table, or when we stop going to the gym after a month or two. But, with a little help, we can safely regain our pre-holiday weight without the guilt.
On the last day of 2013, The Washington Post printed an article by Gabriella Boston entitled “12 months to a fitter you.” In it she gives month by month instructions for losing weight which she calls “couch-to-fitness guidance.” The plan covers four areas: 1) cardio; 2) strength; 3) mind-body; and, 4) nutrition. This balanced approach begins slow and builds towards a year-end accomplishment of the goal.
However, within this helpful guide there is an area Christians must navigate more carefully. That is the mind-body connection. Boston advocates yoga exercise and mediation. Yoga, an Eastern practice, has seen a rise in Western society. And it does have many fitness benefits. But Yoga is a form of religion that advocates looking within oneself for answers rather than trusting God.
In the January 2014 issue of Charisma magazine, Mike Shreve, a yoga instructor before he was a Christian, explains the roots of yoga and why it should be avoided by believers. In place of yoga, he identifies an alternative “low-impact exercise approach free from false mystical entrapments.” Two websites that can be substituted for yoga in Boston’s mind-body portion of the twelve month plan are WholyFit and PraiseMoves. These programs offer Christian music and Bible passages in their exercise routines. Also, in place of meditation, a believer can read one verse from Proverbs and five Psalms a day. This will take them through these two Bible books, which are full of wisdom and instruction from God, in just one month.
Prior to starting any exercise program, pray about whether it is right for you. If you have health issues, by all means consult your doctor. And for older believers, finding a gym with an aerobic swim fit program could be substituted for the cardio program while avoiding high impact on the joints. In Central Florida you’ll find such programs at Health First Pro-Health & Fitness Center or the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Aquatic Center.
For those who are really proactive, you can try losing weight before the next holiday season begins.