For anyone who has ever been frustrated when trying to increase their exercising or improve their diet, Matthew Feinstein has a suggestion for you. Go to church!
Feinstein, lead investigator in a recent religion and obesity study writes: “Churches already have infrastructures in place, groups of people gathering regularly and providing social support. That’s hugely beneficial in implementing health intervention or implementing programs geared toward diet and physical activity.”
In building support systems, churches have the advantage of an established location and groups of people who regularly interact. These are the key essentials of making any change successful. Too often people tackle large tasks alone. That could be a major reason why we struggle so much with lifestyle changes. Churches have an opportunity to fellowship in a way that supports lifestyle changes such as offering exercise classes and fruits and vegetables during events. So the next time you congregate at your church for an activity, I challenge you to look at others not only as other believers but as a huge support system in your healthy lifestyle endeavors!
Try sparking conversations in the following three ways to build the support system around healthy habits:
1) Begin with prayer. Ask God to help change hearts to establish the discipline needed to build support systems around healthy habits.
2) At a next event, during regular conversation, ask someone if they have thought about exercising more or eating more fruits and vegetables. If they have, see if they would be willing to talk about their thoughts on a regular basis. If they haven’t, see if they might be interested. It could be an opportunity to get someone interested in healthy habits!
3) Start with one or two other people and agree to be accountability partners offering love when you fall and encouragement when you hit struggles. Don’t forget praise for successes!
Always feel free to leave a comment and let us know works for you. We all want to have success, so please share it!
— Joy Williams, Regional Consultant, Partners in Health and Wholeness