Weight Loss v. Spiritual Disciplines

I have struggled with my weight most of my life. I started a new program last year and am doing my best to follow the guidelines and incorporate the new practices and behaviors into my life. Some of these new behaviors are new to me and others are things that I know to do, but somehow in the rush of life just wasn’t incorporating into my lifestyle. This particular program emphasizes small, steady changes – rather than large dramatic changes.

So I have made the step — committed to participate. I am now working to incorporate certain practices around my eating and exercise into my routine – hoping for weight loss and a better balance in my life overall. I also hope to become better in tune with my body. So far the success I’ve had has been mostly invisible to the outside world. I have lost some weight, but not enough that people are really noticing. My clothes are fitting better and I am wearing some of my smaller sizes.

However, the changes on the inside are much more significant:

• First, I have hope again, this program is not onerous and is one that I am succeeding in following.

• I am feeling better and have gotten some very good results back on some of my blood tests. In addition, my blood pressure is back in the excellent range.

• I have noticed that my physical ability has improved markedly and I am able to do some things that I had not been able to do for a while.

• While my sleep is not all that it should be, I am sleeping more.

• I have more energy for my job and for other activities at the end of the day.

• My overall attitudes and outlooks are more positive.

All of these changes are significant, but not necessarily visible. For the most part they are internal to me.

All of this focus on the weight program has given me cause for reflection on the parallels to this weight loss endeavor to that of using my spiritual disciplines.

Both serve to impose structure in my life. Both require a choice on my part. I make a choice to incorporate certain practices into my life. In the case of the weight loss – a food plan and exercise plan. In the case of my spiritual life – I have chosen a Rule of Life which includes regular times of devotion, prayer, meditation, and worship.

The initial changes in both cases are more internal and less visible to others. Over time they become increasingly visible and tangible externally. Both are providing a collection of new experiences, a slight shift in my frame of reference, and the incorporation of new stories into my core life narrative. They are providing me with a more balanced way of life and serving to shore up my foundation.

The outcome in both cases is transformation.

    God I thank you for love and guidance in all areas of my life. I ask your strength and wisdom to follow both my weight loss plan and my Rule of Life, not so much for the tangible benefits, but because I know that they are good for me and that I feel better when I do. Amen.

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