Little Change, Big Difference: Why Your Diet, Exercise, and Sleep Habits Matter

Little Change, Big Difference: Why Your Diet, Exercise, and Sleep Habits Matter

Recently, I talked about how physically caring for our body is an act of humility and an act of stewardship.

I’m not talking about spas, body-building, or shopping sprees. Nothing wrong with those, but they are short-term, not long-term, solutions.

I want something that’s very basic for all people, not just for those who have the inclination.

What I’m talking about is sleep, diet, and exercise.

We all need all of these.

The trick is not about radical changes you cannot maintain but small changes faithfully practiced over the long haul that make a difference. Things like:

  • Adding an extra hour of sleep. Losing that hour can actually decrease our ability to think well and lowers our overall health—which can affect our long-term availability to do God’s work.

  • Changing the quality of the food you eat rather than just reducing the quantity. Doing so provides the energy you need for the moment while contributing to long-term health.

  • Remembering to move throughout the day and not just during your one-hour workout. Embedding these opportunities can help break up a sedentary lifestyle even if you cannot make it to the gym.

Learning this was heartening but challenging.

It was heartening to realize that these didn’t require an overhaul or professional help.

But it was challenging because it meant being willing to discipline myself to make those little changes that are often rooted in convenience and temporal pleasures.

I had to overcome cravings for potato chips and late-night movies.

It meant learning how to keep the bigger picture in mind, not dwell on the discomfort.

These three work together and influence each other.

Two years into our adoption, I found myself in the worst health of my life.

Life was hard, so I escaped each night in front of the TV.

This meant I stayed up late. I didn’t have time to spend with the Lord before my kids woke up in the morning. (And they always wanted to eat when they did!)

I didn’t think through my meals and ate whatever was convenient—cold cereal, sandwiches, and processed foods.

My blood pressure was high, and I was overweight.

I felt depressed because fantasy worlds, not God’s Word, filled my mind.

There was no joy. I was angry at God, myself, and others—all of which impacted our home.

My wakeup call came when I found myself in the ER.

I started going to bed earlier, eating smarter, and moving just a little bit more.

But one little change became a new habit and a part of a healthier routine.

I don’t want to merely survive homeschooling, our adoption journey, and old age.

But this means I will need to discipline my body purposefully so I can run strong to the end of my days and not be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:26-27).

We are spiritual beings, but we also live in a human body.

There is great return for these little changes.

Which of these three areas will you work on first?  

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