Is It The Battle of the Bulge?

Well, I have officially started my New Year’s Resolutions. In my quest to lose fifteen pounds this year and lower my cholesterol, I’ve renewed my gym membership and have started working out again. In fact, I actually joined a new gym, and for Christmas my husband got me three months with a personal trainer. Pretty nice gift!

So far it’s been tough, but well worth it. My trainer pushes me much harder than I’d ever push myself. Plus, he’s teaching me a totally different way to work out that I’ve never tried before.

Trust me; it’s not pretty. When I work out with him I’m so sore! Actually, I don’t think the word sore even begins to describe how I feel. It’s more like excruciating pain, to say the least. However, with time it’s gotten a little easier.

Just last week he had me doing an exercise for my abs that I considered to be difficult. Number one, I don’t have a lot of strength in my abs after having had two children. I also had a C-section this last time, and that all adds up to weak abs. Anyways, I was trying so hard to do the last few, but I just gave out. I thought I was finished until my trainer said “Oh, no! You’re not done yet. You don’t get off that machine until you finish those last few reps, throw up, or pass out. You choose.” Needless to say I chose to finish the ab routine.

You might think that was harsh, but it was actually very motivational. And speaking of harsh, have any of you heard of the anti-gym? I just saw a news special on it. When you workout people yell at you, they call you names like “fat” and “chubby.” They also throw food at you such as cupcakes and Twinkies.

I guess if that doesn’t get you moving, then there’s a special room that you’re allowed to enter once you reach a certain percentage of body fat. The reporter was quite funny because no one in the broadcast was at that percentage of body fat. Therefore, they couldn’t reveal the secret room to us. It was very amusing.

However, the newscast didn’t even touch on what the anti-gym is all about. The slogan is “No Chubbies.” And not only does it strongly oppose people who are obese, but it entices you to get fit to “look sexy.” They promise to help you sculpt a new body by still enjoying food, alcohol, and other avenues that seduce you.

So what is it about fighting the “battle of the bulge” that pushes us so far that we might find ourselves at an anti-gym? Are we that desperate to be “skinny?” I think there comes a point at which you cross a line, and it’s then no longer about being healthy but about feeding our own self-image crisis. You can go to the gym and exercise and really push yourself to be fit. But why do it at an anti-gym where in addition to exercising you’re opening yourself up to making some bad choices, such as using alcohol? It’s just allowing what Satan has set forth to accomplish and that’s to entice and corrupt our souls.

I’m pretty sure most of us aren’t working-out at the anti-gym. But maybe our lifestyle says otherwise. Maybe in our hearts we’re secretly binging on all the pleasures we desire. Scary!

The message that the anti-gym sends is exactly what Satan wants us to believe. That belief is that we can only be loved if we look a certain way. We can only be happy if we give into our sexual desires and feed our appetites. There’s something wrong with that.

But what can we do? We’re controlled by conflicting sources. You know the Bible has some very inspiring words I’d like to share. Galatians 5:16-25 says:

“So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions. But when you are directed by the Spirit, you are not under obligation to the law of Moses.
 When you follow the desires of your sinful nature, the results are very clear: sexual immorality, impurity, lustful pleasures, idolatry, sorcery, hostility, quarreling, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambition, dissension, division, envy, drunkenness, wild parties, and other sins like these. Let me tell you again, as I have before, that anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against these things!
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have nailed the passions and desires of their sinful nature to his cross and crucified them there. Since we are living by the Spirit, let us follow the Spirit’s leading in every part of our lives” (New Living Translation).
I hope that as you go about your week you will choose to live by the Spirit. Put aside the possibility that anti-gyms will control you, and be free to follow Jesus.