Jesus healed the sick, the blind, the perpetually bleeding, the demon-possessed. OK, but what about a 31 year-old guy with a gut? Can he cure that?
I’m thinking alot about my health these days. Perhaps it is because I am working in a hospital, where I see all kinds of sick and injured people whose condition or recovery could be aided by better health. Perhaps it is because my aunt has had a recurrance of breast cancer, reminding me that my dad and his two siblings have have all suffered significant bouts with cancer. Perhaps it is because I woke up nauseated this morning after a week of poor sleep and a Saturday of halloween party treats and too many cups of coffee.
Either way, my health ain’t good, and the genes I inherited from Mom and Dad are not the building blocks of perfect health, either. I’m 31 years old, out of shape and overweight. It wasn’t always this way. In high school – yes, we all have those "in high school" stories – I ran track and cross country, and was pretty damn fast (4:23 mile, 1:55 800m, 52.5 400m). I count among my proudest achievements winning a state gold medal in the 4x800m relay in 1993. Now I can’t run up the stairs without getting winded.
So what do I do about it? Well, I have a history of well-intentioned plans that have lasted for several months, only to be scuttled by several days of bad weather (my daily 25-mile bike ride in 2002), a persistant and wicked cold (my daily run last spring), or a job change/dramatic shift in home routine (my South Beach diet of 2003/04). And once derailed, I have found it difficult to get back on track. I’m not sure what to do.
But I opened this blog post with references to Jesus’ miracles of healing. Many of us might roll our eyes at faith-based fitness plans, wondering if opportunitistic health care gurus are not reducing the Gospel to a personal health plan for middle class, suburban Christians. On the other hand, as I’m increasingly thinking about faith in daily life, I’m open to the possibility that faith might say something about me and my health.
Whether or not faith has anything to do with it, I’m hoping, praying and searching for a way to improve my health. I’m 6ft tall, 233 pounds. Those height/weight charts say that my maximum normal weight is 188 pounds. So I’m 45 pounds overweight, falling into the category of obese. Obesity is defined as weighing 20% or more above normal weight. Based on the high-end of the normal weight for my height – 188 pounds – the 20% mark for me is 225. I’m 8 pounds on other side of being merely overweight – I’m obese.
I could find comfort in Scripture – particularly Leviticus 3:16b, "All fat is the Lord’s." But that is a reference to the parts of the animal sacrifice – including kidneys and entrails – that are given to God in the ancient sacrifice. I’d prefer to not go up in smoke on God’s altar at this point in my life. There has to be a better plan.