Monday, October 29, 2012

The Four Parts Of A Healthy Lifestyle

As a guy, whether married or single, it is important to stay healthy. We need to take care of ourselves for many different reasons. As husbands and fathers we need to stay healthy so we can provide, care for, and protect our families as necessary. Now, I will admit that some things are a lot easier to do with the help of a wife, eating healthy for instance, but even so the responsibility for our health is ultimately up to us.

The way I see it, and this is just how I like to think of it not necessarily theology, is that there are four areas to think about keeping healthy: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.  They are all part of who we are and they are all interrelated. If one area suffers they all suffer to an extent, so lets take them one at a time.

First the physical. This is the stuff like eating healthy and exercising. Eating healthy is more then just a balanced diet, although that is the place to start. Make sure you're getting all your food groups every day. I used to not eat enough vegetables but since I have been married and Rebekah plans the meals that usually isn't a problem anymore. Here are two things that help me when it comes to food: everything in moderation, and eat until your not hungry, not until you're stuffed full.

Everything in moderation means that I pretty much eat whatever I want to just not to the extreme. I will eat at McDonald's every once in a while but not every day. I eat ice cream but not after every meal. Eat what you like just don't over do it. This may not be true for everyone though so be careful. This is just what I do and it works for me. Second, I learned to eat until I wasn't hungry anymore and then stop. I don't just keep eating because it tastes good. I eat what my body needs and that is enough. Sometimes I have a snack between meals if I get hungry and that is OK. Eating smaller amounts more often keeps your metabolism up and then your body is using most of what you take in.

It is also important to stay in shape. There are lots of ideas out there for quick workouts that are easy to fit into your schedule. I am not very good at the working out thing but I have a pretty physical job that keeps me in pretty good shape. I am still trying to get in the habit of working out though to try and stay in really good shape.

Next is mental health. Keeping your brain active is important to good health especially as you get older. There are lots of ways to exercise your brain. I read every day. I love to read all different kinds of books. My favorites are sci-fi and fantasy books but lately I have been reading through a lot of the books that I have listed on my Resources page.

Another thing that I like to do is play games. I am not talking about video games, I am talking about real games with other people face to face. I love games that make you think, like Risk and Settlers of Catan, and I love games that make you think and react fast, like Dutch Blitz and Set. Whatever it is find stuff you like to do that keeps your brain active. Try and learn something new every day!

Emotions are next. This can be a tough one for guys. So many of us grow up hearing stuff like: "Real men don't cry!" but the truth is a real man needs to be in touch with his emotions. If we never let our emotions out they get all bottled up and then we end up exploding about stuff because we have all those pent up emotions that are trying to get out. We need to be able to show love to others, we need to be able to cry with others. If we can't show emotions we can't show people that we really care. There is nothing wrong with being able to cry. There is nothing wrong with being angry either, as long as we do not sin because our anger gets the best of us. The Bible is full of examples of God and Jesus being angry about things that are not right. We need to learn to have God's heart towards the world, learn to feel what God feels, what makes Him weep, what makes Him smile, and what fills Him with righteous anger. We can't be in tune with the heart of God if we have shut off our emotions.

Last, but not at all least, is our spiritual health. We need to practice good spiritual habits just like in all the other areas. It is a good idea to do some Bible reading every day. There are a lot of good devotionals out there that can help with daily time with God also. We need to know the Bible to help us hear from God and recognize God in everyday life. We also need to pray every day. The Bible says to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17). I try to pray all through out the day when ever I think about it. Just little things like, "help me have a good attitude." or, "help me to stay busy at work today." I also try and listen to anything God might be telling me to pray about. I pray with Mercedes every night as part of our bedtime routine which is a good way to help her see God working too.

There is way too much for me to write in this blog about how all of this interacts and how they all effect each other but I will maybe write another blog that gets into all that later. So for now lets work on staying healthy in every area of our lives and see what happens. God wants us to be healthy and He want to helps us live healthy and fulfilling lives too, so don't be afraid to make some changes for the better!

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