How to Honor God by Living a Healthy Lifestyle featuring The Nourishing Soul Co.
What is the definition of a healthy lifestyle? Before entering my graduate nutrition program, I would’ve told you that what you eat and how you workout is what really counts. Even though those are two important elements of a healthy lifestyle, there is more to health than that. If you truly want to live a healthy lifestyle, you also need to take care of your mind and soul.
It’s 2019. We’re living in the most progressive and digital age in history. Americans have unlimited educational resources at their fingertips, courtesy of the Internet. You might assume that our country is thriving and everyone is living their best life ever. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case. In comparison to other high-income countries, Americans aren’t living as long and 19.1% of the country is diagnosed with anxiety each year (1).
When we look health related to nutrition, ¾ of Americans have an eating pattern that is low in fruits, vegetables, dairy, and healthy oils (2). And the majority of people are eating more than the recommended daily intake of sugars, saturated fats, and sodium (2).
Clearly, what the media and mainstream health authorities have been promoting isn’t working. People are living with nutritional deficiencies, disease and less happiness relative to the quality of life (1). You can eat healthy and follow nutrition and exercise recommendations to the T. But if you’re not nourishing your mind and soul with a relationship with Jesus, you’ll continue to feel unfulfilled and struggle with your health.
The solution? Invite the Lord to walk with you and follow His Word as you actively live a healthy lifestyle!
“Your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. Honor God with your bodies.”
1 Corinthians 6:19-20
Nourish your Body with Balanced Eating
When you die, your body isn’t going with you to Heaven. But, until that day comes, it’s important that you honor God by taking care of your body while you’re here on earth. So, how do you do that? Eating a balanced diet, which includes all food groups (carbs, fat, grains, protein, dairy, vegetables, and fruits) is a good starting point.
No one is perfect, and this holds true for eating. Yet, in order to uphold the ideal of perfection, 60-80% of American women will go on a diet at one point during the year (3). Crazy, right? But, if we stop to ponder the reason why so many women are dieting the answer is clear. Women feel like they aren’t enough.
Our culture encourages women to diet in order to lose a few pounds and find their worth. But, when you know who you are in Christ, you can reject and discern the lies of the enemy, which are rampant in the diet industry. Remember, you are His handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works (Ephesians 2:10).
Before I embraced balanced eating, I used to follow a strict diet and wouldn’t allow myself to eat certain foods. When I had my weekly “cheat” meal I would still feel guilty, because I was eating a “bad” food. If you experience this sis, you’re not alone. This is a common feeling women experience. Keep in mind that when you decide to eat balanced, your giving your body a wide variety of nutrition, that it wouldn’t otherwise get if you put limits on what you eat!
Eating spaghetti with a chocolate chip cookie is balanced! Having a kale salad with chicken noodle soup is also balanced! If you begin to feel guilt or shame when you eat a particular food, GIVE IT TO GOD. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to fill you with peace instead.
I’m pretty positive that Jesus wouldn’t want you getting worked up over a bowl of pasta. He loves you like crazy, just the way you are! He also wants you to take care of yourself. And you can do that by nourishing your body with balanced eating.
If you find yourself limiting the types of foods you eat because you want to look a certain way, remember the Lord says, “Charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting, but a woman who fears the Lord will be praised” (Proverbs 31:30). Although God wants us to take care of our bodies while we’re here on earth (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), He is more concerned with what’s on the inside versus the out. Focus on how you’re using your time here on earth to spread the message and love of Jesus.
Nourish your Body with Exercise
Take time to figure out what exercise you enjoy. Whether that’s running, cycling, yoga, Zumba, or hitting the gym. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that adults practice at least 2.5-5 hours of moderate intensity aerobic exercise per week (4). But, if that’s seems like too much, start with 30 minutes of exercise, 1-2 days a week, then gradually increase it.
When I think of exercise in relation to God, I can’t imagine Him encouraging us to grudgingly engage in exercise that we don’t enjoy. Do you? I doubt it! When we enjoy exercise, we can use it as an act of worship. Thanking God for the ability to be active and move our bodies for His glory.
Nourish your Mind with Self-Care
Life can get busy. And if you overdo it with work, school, or exercise, overwhelm can set in pretty quick. Living a healthy lifestyle includes balance in all aspects of your daily routine, not just eating! If you feel like you’re on the edge of burn out, make a list of your daily to-do’s and transfer them to a planner. Block out time for each to-do (time with God, eating breakfast, working out, school, etc.). This will help you see where you’re spending your time. And what areas may need more or less attention.
Most people will experience burn out and neglect their health when they don’t take time each day to practice self-care. It’s important to create time for rest. By doing so, you’re actively nourishing your mind. Some of my favorite types of self-care are yoga, meditation, going for a walk in nature, spending time with a friend, or reading the Bible—whatever you do, make sure that it helps you rejuvenate your mind and spirit.
P.S. While you rest, praise God for His love, glory, and the ability to practice self-care in the first place! Expressing gratitude is an important element of living a healthy lifestyle and another way you can nourish your mind.
My child pay attention to what I say. Listen carefully to my words. Don’t lose sight of them. Let them penetrate deep into your heart, for they bring life to those who find them, and healing to their whole body. Proverbs 4:20-22
Nourish your Soul with Jesus
Making time for Jesus, EVERYDAY, is KEY to living a healthy lifestyle as a Christian. Even though I talk to God throughout the day in prayer, I like to make appointments with Him. Every morning and before I go to sleep, I read the Bible. Making time for God first thing in the morning sets my day on a positive note. It’s also one way I show Him that He comes first in my life. When I close my day with the word of God, I’m reminded of God’s promises and glory, which helps me sleep in peace.
When you choose to spend time with God by reading your Bible, you’re actively nourishing your soul. You get the opportunity to connect with the creator of the universe, learn about His glory and love, and allow yourself to hear from Him. What an amazing blessing!
1. Health Habits can Lengthen Life. National Institute of Health Website. https://www.nih.gov/news-events/nih-research-matters/healthy-habits-can-lengthen-life.
2. Dietary Guidelines 2015. Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-2/current-eating-patterns-in-the-united-states/.
3. kNOw Dieting: Risks and Reasons to Stop. https://uhs.berkeley.edu/sites/default/files/bewell_nodieting.pdf. Accessed November 13, 2018.
4. Adult Physical Activity Guidelines. https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf#page=55
About the Author:
Malena Martinez is the writer and creator behind the health & wellness blog The Nourishing Soul Company.
Read more of her work at thenourishingsoulco.com and follow her on Instagram @thenourishingsoul_co!