When we hear our physician speak the words “healthy lifestyle,” our thoughts may turn to the gym, our refrigerator, or a bulging waistline. What should we give up? What can we keep? How can we change?
Do you really want a healthy lifestyle? Finding nourishing choices and achieving balance in our lives can be a challenge. Food is one factor to consider, but what else should we focus on? Maybe it would help to answer this question:
What Does a Healthy Lifestyle Really Mean?
Here are some areas in my life where I have found nourishment, satisfaction, and balance through the years—all contributing to a healthier lifestyle.
A Healthy Lifestyle Includes Exercise
Thirty years ago, a clean-cut orthopedist raised a tape recorder to his mouth, then asked me a question I wasn’t sure how to answer: “Where do you hurt?”
“All over—more than anywhere else.” I wasn’t trying to be cute, only honest. “I wake up all hours of the night; my back hurts, and when my husband squeezes my arms or calf muscles playfully, I wince with pain—and I tire easily. Where has my strength gone?”
He ignored me, speaking into his microphone as if I were invisible. I waited, eager for a pill, a shot, something to erase the pain.
But what he spoke next sent my emotions spiraling: “Fibromyalgia. No cure. Gentle and moderate exercise for life.”
A Healthy Lifestyle Maintains a Balanced Diet and Less Stress
At least my doctor’s healthy lifestyle suggestions didn’t include a low-fat diet. Because my 5’ 9” string-bean frame couldn’t take it. Not everyone needs to lose weight to maintain a healthy lifestyle. And my family had already added fairly healthy foods to our diet years earlier.
Years later, when my mom died, I recognized other inherited conditions that could affect me, especially digestive issues. That’s when my somewhat healthy eating took on a new twist.
A relative introduced me to a concept in Jordan Rubin’s book, The Maker’s Diet (affiliate link), which involved a totally healthy lifestyle: physical, mental, and spiritual, with an emphasis on foods used in the Bible. While some agree or disagree with the concept of “biblical food,” and why it’s defined as “healthy,” I borrowed parts of his food suggestions, and they helped with some of my physical issues.
Here is an article I wrote after my research that might be of help to you: 10 Healing Foods from the Bible.
I asked God for help in refuting and overcoming any inherited tendencies and for wisdom to treat my body the way He wanted: as a temple of the Holy Spirit.
Each day when I awake, I thank God for healing me “from the top of my head to the bottom of my feet.” And my prayer doesn’t just include physical health. I ask Him to keep my thoughts right and good, positive and centered on Him.
Even if you don’t suffer from physical imbalance or chronic conditions, here are some general tips or “remedies” I’ve tried that might help you maintain a healthier physical and mental lifestyle.
Seven Tips to Help Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
1. Eat less sugar and white flour. Try baking sourdough bread.
2. Add more organic fruits and vegetables, grass-fed or organic meats, healthier fats, etc., while enjoying healthier desserts and “fun” treats occasionally.
3. Watch for food issues. If certain foods cause me distress, I change my diet. I’d rather say “no” to something good if I remember the pain of saying “yes” too many times.
4. Maintain regular check-ups, including blood tests—working with your doctor for what is best for you. Everyone is different. For a few years, I even tried “functional” medicine, sometimes called “holistic,” a treatment that includes working with the whole body for reestablishing balance, not just for one part.
5. Exercise “for life.” For a brief time, that meant occasional trips to the gym, but as I’ve grown older, I’ve embraced a 30-minute simple routine: walking at least 15 minutes a day and gentle stretching for another 15 minutes in the evening. Establish what’s right for you.
6. Avoid stressful situations as much as possible (that’s hard, I know!). Learn when to say “no” and when to say “yes.” Sometimes that requires the mentality of “others can,” but in some situations, “I cannot.” That’s probably one of the hardest things to do for people with chronic conditions, but controlling stress is one of the biggest factors in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
7. Get adequate sleep and rest. Every physical challenge we meet involves this factor. Our bodies rejuvenate and restore with rest.
A Healthy Lifestyle Needs Mental and Spiritual Balance
Exercise and rest help benefit us greatly. And even with physical challenges, I believe God gave us good food to enjoy, and eating the things that help us, rather than harm us, will enrich a healthy lifestyle and contribute to more balance. But even if we ate the healthiest foods available, we need more. These will only leave us temporarily satisfied if we neglect mental and spiritual balance. Every part of our body needs constant restoration to find that balance. Even our thoughts matter.
God is a faithful heavenly Father who longs to meet every need of our lives—including our physical, mental, and spiritual balance. Not only that, He cares about us, our thoughts, and what will truly help us. He wants to renew our hope, joy, peace, and trust in His faithful and unchangeable character. He offers a sweet, satisfying relationship with us, based on forgiveness and the acceptance of His Son, Jesus.
Focusing on God’s attributes and activity and truths from His Word, the Bible, I’ve tried to imagine what He might be saying about the kind of “nourishment” our bodies need—but what we often neglect the most:
My child, you enjoy all kinds of food and activities that leave you temporarily satisfied. But do you long for Me and the nourishment you need for your spiritual life? I am the One who satisfies you completely. At My banquet table, you can eat to your heart’s content, any time you wish. You can waste your time and money on things that never satisfy you, or you can sit down in My presence and relish the food I’ve prepared for you.
Listen to my words daily as you open the Bible and read. Taste, and see if what My Word says is true. I will give you the strength your need to face every trying situation. Every day I want to fill you with delicious delicacies—heavenly food that nourishes you. My food adds calories to your soul, giving you protection from sin-sickness and temptation. Why would you look for other things to satisfy when I’m all you need?¹
God Wants to Help Us Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
God gave us doctors, nurses, nutritionists, and therapists to help us maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle. And He gave us so many good foods to eat. Remember that God also created you uniquely, and you are wonderfully made. What works for one may not work for another in the same way.
But I believe God also wants us to center our lives and everything in them on Him. Habits of prayer, gratitude, and praise, talking to God daily, and investing time in His Word are key factors in a sweet relationship with Him. He is not only a Great Physician; He is the One who wants to satisfy us completely—in every area of our lives, including stress, disappointments, discouragement, and loneliness—anything that hinders our physical, mental, and spiritual health. Here are some of the promises He offers:
Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the one who takes refuge in him (Psalm 34:8 NIV).
You prepare a feast for me in the presence of my enemies (Psalm 23:5 NLT).
“The Lord will guide you continually, And satisfy your soul in drought, And strengthen your bones” (Isaiah 58:11 NKJV).
“Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him. See that you go on growing in the Lord, and become strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with joy and thanksgiving for all he has done (Colossians 2:7 TLB).
And there are so many more.
If you really want a healthy lifestyle, focus on the One who can help, and on the things you can do, not on the things you can’t control. Celebrate each moment of life as a gift, and each milestone as a victory.
I’d love to tell you more about how our faithful, heavenly Father wants to give you physical, mental, and spiritual balance. In Day-votions® with Your Faithful Father: 90 Days with the One Who Wants to Meet All Your Needs, I’ve tried to do that. Filled with intimate prayer conversations, reflective questions, powerful truths, and even journaling pages for processing your thoughts and prayers, this will help you discover more about God’s heart and all the ways He wants to meet the needs of your life—including the balance and healthy lifestyle we all desire.
The Rest of My Personal Story
Oh, you want to know the rest of my personal story? Like you, I will always struggle with stressful challenges in life. Some days are easier than others.
I still live with fibromyalgia. Some days are more challenging, but many days I feel like it’s 85% gone—partly because I try to maintain a healthy lifestyle with good foods, adequate rest, a positive outlook, regular exercise, and a sweet relationship with Jesus, but mostly due to God’s grace, and His amazing faithfulness day in and day out.
Because a balanced, healthy lifestyle begins with Him.
¹Prayer adapted from Day-votions® from Your Faithful Father: 90 Days with the One Who Wants to Meet all Your Needs, ©2022, Rebecca Barlow Jordan, Used by Permission, All Rights Reserved.
It’s Your Turn
What about you? Do you really want a healthy lifestyle? What are you doing to achieve a healthier physical, mental, and spiritual lifestyle? I love to hear from readers. You can always write me through my contact page and fill out the basic name and address info; then the email will come to me. Your name or info will never be shared with anyone without your permission.
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