The 4th Deadly Sin

My wife and I became sick two weeks ago. She is a nanny for some little babies, and one day she brought home some Chimera disease they had. And it knocked us down for a solid week. We were lethargic, achy, tired, worn out, with sore throats and congestion. It was awful.

Up to that point, I had been doing the Beachbody Insanity workout for 2 months and felt great – motivated, energized, I was losing weight and toning muscle, eating right, and sleeping better, and on and on. I actually started to see a 7th ab at one point that I never knew existed. As a bonus, I was keeping off the 30 pounds I lost in January. So when I got sick, I tried to take it easy and felt that I had earned a little time off to let my body recover.

This is a sloth, by the way. It's a pun.

This is a sloth, by the way. It’s a pun.

But 5 days of being sick and not working out turned into 18 days of not working out. I got out of the rhythm and habit of daily working out. And I noticed that my eating habits got progressively worse as well, because food was no longer fuel for working out and I would not feel the effects of poorer nutrition while working out (i.e., fatigue, lack of “second wind”, queasiness…). When I was working out, I was constantly aware of how the food and drink I was consuming would effect me later that day when I worked out, so pastas, potatoes, beer, sodas…all of that was cut out of my diet because I knew they would have negative impacts. Take the workouts away, and all of a sudden I am not thinking about my food or the impacts it will have. Sloth is the 4th Deadly Sin.

Motivation is tough, isn’t it? Staying motivated, dedicated, and committed to a goal is a very difficult task because so many of us are so easily swayed by comfort, ease, immediate gratification, and soothing. I would venture that very few of us have goals that include, “Eat whatever I want whenever I want,” “Live this year for my immediate gratification,” or “Do exactly what I feel like doing.” These are my natural tendencies. I don’t have to set goals to accomplish these, because I’m inevitably going to accomplish these goals sometime. But goals stretch and mold us into someone better, and force us to reach beyond comfort and convenience.

How can I stay motivated? Motivational posters and sayings (like the one above) don’t really work for me. Angry or intense workout instructors don’t really work either. I don’t like being yelled at and I don’t like being humiliated or called names. Staying motivated is just like anything else – it requires a few key factors to achieve. 

1. Know the end goal and “See” the end result. If I am working toward something worthwhile and can picture its results and implications it will have on the rest of my life, that is a huge motivator for me.

2. Have a plan. If I don’t have a plan, I don’t stand a chance. That’s why I love Beachbody – it makes the plan for me, sets the time, workouts, and strategy, and I just push play.

3. Have accountability. I work out with my wife, so she is great about both reminding me to continue to workout and encouraging me along the way. I couldn’t do it without her.

But in the end, it is just working out. What about the rest of my life? What about being a good, godly husband, or serving my neighbors, or pursuing Jesus in every aspect of my life? I need to know the end goal, have a plan, and have accountability. I need to make sure that being in shape is not an idol in my life, but a tool that helps me toward my true goal and calling – to honor God in every area of my life. Taking care of the body is just a tiny portion of that.

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