Getting Back In The Good Health Groove
by Natalie Nichols Gillespie
When it comes to getting your body in shape, weight-loss expert and creator of the First Place system Carole Lewis is quick to remind anyone that “It’s not brain surgery. You know what to do, we all know what to do, it’s just a matter of doing it.”
The “it” is to put aside sugar, fried foods, and fast foods and begin eating the fresh foods God created. The second part is to exercise–that’s right–to get your body off the couch and onto the treadmill. Okay, don’t stop reading yet. Yes, you have heard this before. You may have even dieted, lost weight, and regained it 100 times. Lewis is convinced that your 101st time, if you make it your last time, might be the charm.
“Part of the problem is that we have so much knowledge–we know this stuff–yet in America we don’t want to do the work,” Lewis says. “In America we want somebody else to do the work for us. We will go for anything that sounds easy and quick.”
The trouble with easy and quick, the author says, is that you can’t keep it up for a lifetime. If a true lifestyle change is not made, a lasting change will not occur. Lewis should know. Before creating the First Place program, she lost and gained the same 20 pounds for years. Then she decided it was time to get serious. With a new year now in full swing, she encourages other women to do the same.
“Learn the ‘ABCs,'” Lewis says. “‘A’ is for ‘Accepting’ yourself right where you are, ‘B’ is for ‘Being’ willing to change, and ‘C’ is for ‘Continuing’ to learn. Wherever you are right now is exactly where you can be a year from now, or you could lose over 100 pounds in a year. It is being done all the time. But you have to be willing to make a permanent lifestyle change, and you can never think “I’m there” because you are always learning more about yourself.”
After learning how to make permanent changes in her own life, Lewis began writing books and set up a weight loss program in 1981 called First Place that has been used in more than 12,000 churches since. Her newest book Stop It! takes a look at destructive patterns you should stop and positive habits you should start emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and physically.
“You have to look at your whole self, and you are emotions, spirit, body, and mind,” Lewis says. “And you have to get sick enough of where you are right now that you are finally willing to start making changes.”
Lewis admits that eating healthy in America is a tough proposition, especially when people tend to see food as the answer for just about everything.
“In America we start eating at Halloween and eat right through the Super Bowl,” Lewis says. “It is this constant thinking that every time something comes around, we have to eat.”
Lewis says even women who do not need to lose weight should examine their eating habits and lifestyles to see if they are eating the right things to maintain the energy and good health God intended.
“A lot of skinny women still eat terribly,” Lewis says. “Especially mothers of small children who only eat one meal a day. They think they are tired because of the kids, but they would be surprised at the energy they would have if they ate better.”
Lewis says to get started on a healthy plan for the rest of 2008, think about the following:
It only takes about three days of eating only nutritious foods to break most cravings for junk. If you wait to start until you “feel” like it, you will probably never start. It takes accountability partners to keep you going. Find someone to exercise and “weigh in” with. You should start by getting the junk food out of the house and fill it with fresh vegetables and fruit. If you want a whole lifestyle change, study the Bible with your accountability partner, or join a First Place group for Bible study, fellowship, and weight loss classes. It is time to choose an exercise plan and stick with it, whether it means walking with your spouse daily, swimming in the pool, or going to the gym. If you have a lot of weight to lose, set a small goal of a few pounds. When you reach that goal, set another one. Ask God to change you from the inside out, dealing with your emotional and spiritual issues. When he does, the physical changes will come.
“Weight is just a symptom of the problem,” Lewis says. “That’s why you can’t just deal with the weight. You need to deal with the total person. It always works.”