I know that I have made significant changes in my life when I can have a granola bar and banana for breakfast, a bowl of soup for lunch, and feel satisfied until a light snack, and dinner.
Today is Friday, so I will treat myself to a trip to the Hy-Vee salad bar. I’ll likely take two trips, have a cup of soup, and a little something sweet.
I’m actually craving a big plate of spinach, beets, grilled chicken, black beans, and other good stuff. When I’m done with lunch, it will be about 1 o’clock. I will be stuffed, and it will be very likely that my net caloric intake for the day will be less than zero because this morning I ran three miles, did 150 crunches, and had a hard upper-body workout.
This is from the guy that used to order a Big Mac, large fries, a six-piece McNuggets, and a large Coke, and still feel hungry, and couldn’t jog a quarter mile without pausing. Eating habits are just that – habits. They can be changed with small choices over time. When I think about my past McDonald’s meals, it makes my stomach hurt. I still venture to McDonald’s every once in awhile, but now it is for a grilled chicken sandwich and a Medium fries, or it is for a couple of Egg McMuffins (which are 300 calories apiece), and no hashbrowns.
“How did you do it?” people ask me. I eat less. I excercise more regularly and I run. I don’t juice. I don’t count carbs. I haven’t eliminated any one food, or sweets, or anything in particular. I don’t cleanse. I track everything I eat with Lose It. I eat between 1800-2500 calories a day. When I work out, I burn 500-1000. I’ve never felt like I’m dieting. I just feel like I’m paying attention.
I choose broccoli instead of fries at TGI Fridays. I choose grilled chicken over a burger. I have two slices of cheese pizza and a salad instead of four slices of sausage with a side of chicken wings. I choose to eat until I’m satisfied, not until I’m stuffed. I drink a fruit smoothie when I’m hungry at night instead of having two bowls of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. I drink more water.
I’ve discovered that after making one good choice, the next one is easier. And when I make good choices about my diet, I make good choices about other things too. Good choices in my diet set my mind right to go to the gym, or pick up my Bible, or pause for prayer. Good choices in my personal life help me read more, write more, love more. I don’t know which one comes first, but I know that good choices breed other good choices.
People have told me that I’m an inspiration, and there’s a part of me that feels like that is absurd. I’m just a guy that is trying to make some good choices. I’m just trying to love God, live well, and do good. But if you have somehow been inspired by me, I humbly say, “thank you.” You have been an inspiration to me. The words of encouragement have meant so much to me. Accountability, support, and vulnerability have been big reasons why I’ve been able to make some changes in my life.
So if you feel inspired by me, I hope you are inspired to do this: make a good choice. Start with one good choice. Today. Choose to eat something healthier. Choose the stairs over the elevator. Choose to go for a walk. Choose to forgive someone. Choose to call a friend. Choose to stand up for justice. Choose to forgive yourself. Choose to be kind to someone. Choose to pray.
Choose to love God. Choose to live well. Choose to do good. Make one good choice today, and the next one will be a little bit easier. Maybe together we can make some good choices, and change the world.