The Focus on Self-Improvement
When I was initially diagnosed in 1995 with Hypertension, I took the steps to change my eating habits, incorporated daily exercise, and was rewarded by a weight loss of 50+ lbs. The prescription that I received to control my diagnosis had the side effect of fluid retention in the lower extremities. At that point, I did research which convinced me to stop taking the medication; Why not? I was eating healthy, and exercising, so why did I need to take pills which resulted in swollen ankles. I checked my blood pressure twice a week and it was within normal limits, so I was convinced that all was well.
After a couple of weeks, I began to have slight headaches which I attributed to job stress. I can recall feeling dizzy and relaying to my coworker that I felt as if I was going to faint. I was working in a medical clinic and my nursing colleague began to perform a nursing assessment: No, I was not pregnant; however, my blood pressure was 240/120. At the time, I was working in New York City, and living in New Jersey which caused me to rely on public transportation. Obviously, my judgment was impaired because I chose to travel back to New Jersey for a same day appointment with my primary physician instead of seeking medical treatment at a local hospital that was two blocks from my place of employment.
Have you convinced yourself that all is well? We have the option to build or destroy our minds and bodies by the lifestyle that we choose. Our mind-body connection is phenomenal; if we are exposed to levels of high stress, our emotional state compromises our physical health, and we may experience decreased memory, fatigue, mood changes, and elevation of normal vital signs-especially the heart rate and blood pressure. When we consume a diet of comfort foods that contain high-calorie counts, high sodium, saturated fats, syrups, and sugars, we are exhibiting impaired judgment and self-destructive behaviors which intensify to the point that we just do not care anymore; consequently, our internal organs sustain irreparable damage, and our cabinets are filled with medications that disrupt the normal and natural balance–homeostasis of our bodies that God created us with.
Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own, you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. I Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV
We cannot look back nor be filled with regret for our past lifestyle behaviors. Today is a new day full of grace and mercy, we must utilize today to pray for the strength to change. Many say money is power, I say that knowledge is power! Begin to read the food labels– the ingredients and the percentages of sodium, sugar, and saturated fats–perceive those foods as dangerous and destructive.
The hardest test in my life is the one that I face on a daily basis, food not only provides nutrients, it also provides pleasure and satisfaction from our sense of taste. Although I have given up unhealthy foods, I am always betrayed by my senses: My eyes see the peach cobbler, my brain becomes an enemy, and causes me to reflect on the memory of eating this food, and the chain reaction occurs; I begin to weaken and feel as if my life depends on eating just one bite of that delicious cobbler.
For me, I am still in a struggle, I cannot allow myself the one bite of the cobbler; the cobbler will act as a gateway to resuming the unhealthy habits that I have walked away from. With time, our taste preferences can change, we are able to adapt to eating fresh peach slices with cinnamon and graham cracker crumbles as opposed to the adulterated peach cobbler dish.
Is it possible to change self-destructive behaviors? Psychiatrists/Psychologists differ on their professional opinions of whether a sustained change is possible. How many individuals are on short-term diets, or have sacrificed parts of their digestive system due to gastric surgery, and still end up with emotional and nutritional imbalances?
If change is to occur, we must endure the struggle! God is always with us!
The Bible contains many instructions and guidelines on what God expects from us: We must learn Self-Control which is a component of the Fruit of the Spirit. Galatians 5:22, 23
Do you believe Philippians 4:13? If yes, pray for change and believe that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.
Today is a new day! Make a plan for change, present your weaknesses to God in prayer, exercise faith, always pray when you are tempted, and remove yourself from the situation. He never gives us more than we can bear in our lives. God is faithful!
Prayer for today: Dear God, We need you to give us the strength to change, and to sustain the change from self-destructive behaviors to a healthy lifestyle. We are suffering the consequences of disobedience and selfish desires. We desire a strong and healthy mind-body relationship in order to serve you and we strive to obediently follow your plans for us. Thank you for hearing and answering our prayer. In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!
© Sonya Johnson Ruiz 2019