America is fat and getting fatter.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than one-third of all adults in the United States are considered grossly overweight (30 pounds or more), along with 17 percent of teenagers and children. This leads to a number of health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer and other diseases.
The CDC reports that around 112,000 deaths a year are associated with obesity.
Maybe being fat and happy ain’t such a good thing, after all.
I don’t have a whole lot of room to talk right now, since I’m heavier than I’ve ever been in my life. When I graduated from high school, I measured in at 6-2, about 140-145 pounds. Skinny. Bony. Throughout my 20s, I weighed in at around 168 pounds, then I quit smoking cigarettes and packed on another 20 pounds – still perfectly reasonable for a six-footer.
Those numbers crept up over the years to 200, then 215, then 225. My waist size swelled from 30 to 32, 34, 36, 38. I vowed never to buy a pair of pants with a 40-inch waist, but last year, after squeezing into a pair of 38-waist Levi’s and being barely able to breathe, I reluctantly grabbed a pair of 40s and waddled out of the department store. I nearly cried.
I remember hearing in Sunday school as a kid about how the body is a temple, and that we should worship and take care of it.
In 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, it says: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.”
Um, yeah, well those lessons obviously did not stick. I’ve done more to abuse my body over the years than I like to think about.
For a long time, I was fit and trim, lean and muscular, working out at the gym every morning before work. Lifting weights with a semi-professional bodybuilder, getting nutrition advice from a personal trainer. Drinking water all day, carefully preparing and measuring my meals, dropping my body fat to something like nine percent.
I looked and felt great.
Now, not so much.
I never imagined being in this kind of shape, and I know there are plenty of others out there in the same sitting-low-in-the-water boat. I used to be pretty bad about criticizing and judging overweight people, but not anymore.
It creeps up on you. Happens to the best of us.
But it doesn’t have to be that way forever. We men need to be healthy. We need to be around for a long time for our families, our wives and kids. They deserve that from us.
A friend once told me that he thinks God is unhappy when we lie to ourselves, and I don’t imagine He is too thrilled watching us turn our bodies into mush, either.
So if you’ve been neglecting your health, let’s make a vow, you and I, right here, together. Let’s strive to do better. Let’s get back in shape. And remember, we seek progress, not perfection.
We don’t have to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger back in his “Pumping Iron” heyday. You don’t have to join a fancy gym and spend hours on a treadmill and lifting weights. Simple steps. One day at a time.
We seek progress, not perfection.
One solid start toward physical self-improvement is to get a little exercise first thing in the morning, right after you wake up.
Ignore that little voice in your head that says, “Aw, c’mon. You’re tired today. We’ll start tomorrow.” No! Just roll out of bed, put your feet on the floor and get up. Try this:
Do some pushups. Work your way up to 50 (I can probably do 10-12 right now). Do 50 sit-ups, 100 jumping jacks, and as many pull-ups as you can manage. That’s it. Simple steps. One day at a time.
When you get home later, lace up those sneakers and go for a walk. The human body is designed for walking. It loves to walk, and walking is good for body and soul. Walk for about 15 minutes, and you’ve covered a mile, give or take. Go 30 minutes and you’ve logged two miles. Set your sights on a full hour of brisk walking.
You can do it.
We can do it.
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