Deuteronomy 30:19: “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!"
Yesterday morning, as I was breastfeeding my daughter, I again felt a slight pain in my abdomen that I have considered a reminder of the poor health choices that I have been making of late. I have not been eating right. With it being the holiday season, I have allowed myself to be a little too festive and have been eating whatever is placed before me. In addition to that, I have not exercised much at all since the day I had my baby, and as can be expected, I am quite sleep deprived. When I think of the options that I have before me - life and death, blessings and curses - it frustrates me to consider which options I have been consistently choosing. If you need a clue, I have not been choosing life and blessings. In other words, the choices that I have been making of late have been more in favor of shortening my life than promoting it.
And for what reason am I making such poor choices? To feel good for a moment? Am I constantly voting in favor of death with my habits for temporary pleasures? It is quite absurd when you think about it. I have a loving husband, a beautiful baby girl, a fulfilling law practice, and so much more, yet I have constantly chosen cookies, cakes, poorly raised meats, and a lot of other junk over them. It's absolutely pathetic if one is perfectly honest.
Today, I Choose Life
So what is a woman to do about such a predicament? I choose life today. Not tomorrow. Not after January 1. TODAY. Now that my leftovers of pizza and Chinese food have been removed from my fridge (and were eaten for lunch yesterday), I have made the decision that starting RIGHT NOW, I will begin making choices that promote my health rather than destroy it. It has to start today. And it will. I can do this with God's help, as, like the Apostle Paul, I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. I have already adopted this as my life motto, and now I am applying it to my health. I have no excuse. I know what to do. I have done it several times before. It is just time for me to put what I know into action and do so for the long haul.
Using the 66 Day Choose Life Challenge to Get Me Started
According to www.the1thing.com (and other sources), it takes about 66 days to form a habit. Of course that number varies from person to person, but I figure that if I do something intentionally for 66 days, it has a good chance of becoming a permanent part of my life, unless I intentionally revert back to my old ways. While browsing the ONE Thing's website, I ran across a blog post about a 66 day challenge, which challenges the reader to commit to doing one thing for 66 days with the goal of it becoming a habit. I plan to address my need to change my lifestyle habits through what I am calling the 66 Day Choose Life Challenge. My goal for the next 66 days is to journal about how well I do in five areas of my life: eating, drinking (water), exercising, sleeping, and investing in my spiritual life. I have established targets for each of those areas and plan to document my progress toward those targets for each day.
What I have been eating is the problem that stands out the most in terms of the choices that I have been making. I know that processed grains and sugars are like poison to the body, yet during the past few months I have been eating them without much thought, along with meats that were raised in who-knows-what manner. My goal is to eliminate processed grains and sweets from my diet with the exception of one special treat per week. In addition, I plan to reduce my consumption of meat, and when I do eat meat, I will aim to eat meat and other animal by-products from animals that I know have been raised in a humane manner (i.e. grass-fed and allowed to roam about in as natural a habitat as possible).
These days I pretty much only drink water; however, I know that I have not been drinking nearly enough. As I mentioned before, I am currently breastfeeding, so I need to place an even higher priority on my water intake. For the average person, the latest recommendation has been to drink half of one's body weight in water per day. My husband gave me a Klean Kanteen water bottle a couple of years ago, and it is still holding strong! It holds about 27 ounces of water, and, at the risk of disclosing too much information about my weight, I need to fill and empty my bottle at least three times a day. Since I'm breastfeeding, I need to drink more, but I figure that I have got to start somewhere.
I have not broken a sweat (other than those annoying post-partum night sweats), since my baby was born. I have established a goal of exercising at least 20 minutes a day. Whether I pop in my Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred DVD or take a walk around the block, I have got to get at least 20 minutes of activity in a day. Considering that I sit behind a desk at the office all day, 20 minutes a day is not nearly enough; however, like I mentioned before I have got to start somewhere.
I am the mother of an infant. An infant who is currently teething, at that. I have come to accept the harsh reality that sleep will never be the same for me. However, my body does not quite understand that and still needs adequate sleep in order to function properly. Since I cannot count on getting a solid 7-8 hours of sleep at a time, I can at least make sure that I get to bed in time to ensure that I can cobble together spurts of sleep so that I can get as close to 7 hours of sleep at night as possible. In efforts to get to bed earlier, I have designated a cut off time for the use of electronics and plan at that time to transition to getting ready for bed and the next day, as well as spending some time in prayer, which leads me to the final category.
An important element of my health is my spiritual health. If this aspect of my life is not nurtured, then every thing else falls apart. My relationship with God is where I draw my sense of purpose and it helps me to maintain a balanced perspective in this often tumultuous world. I aim to spend at least an hour of time in prayer, meditation, or reading the Bible each day.
Looking Forward to Enjoying New Life
I anticipate that in 66 days, I will be enjoying an enhanced life. I look forward to eliminating my "mommy belly" and not having to worry about that occasional abdominal pain. I also hope to be a more disciplined person and have more power to overcome food temptations and cravings. I do not anticipate that this will be easy, especially during the holiday season, but few things worth having come easily. If you are reading this on December 16, 2014, or sometime thereabout, I hope that you would join me in this challenge. Maybe your goals might be different, but we all have areas in our lives in which we tend to choose "death and curses" but in which we desire to begin choosing "life and blessings." I would love to hear about the challenges you face and how you plan to overcome them in the comments section below. Even if you read this after I have already begun my challenge, please feel free to write about your experience in the comments. Choose life today! If only so that your descendants might live better, choose life!