By Bill Francavilla
In July of 2019, my doctor gave me some disturbing news. I was 39 years old and weighed nearly 300 pounds, so it did not come as a shock that my body was at risk for many diseases associated with an unhealthy lifestyle.
I felt real conviction as a husband, father, pastor, and a follower of Jesus Christ. I was ready to honor my body as a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), I just didn’t know how. It was a few weeks until I met Jennifer. She was tutoring my kids in our homeschool co-op, and we learned quickly that she was also a health coach. After a long conversation with her, I decided to adhere to her health plan as strictly as possible, and before I knew it, I started losing a lot of weight.
Not long after, I found I had significantly more energy, so I started going to the gym and running around my neighborhood. My body was telling me that I was getting healthier, and before I knew it was running 5Ks and 10Ks.
I’m not going to lie; changing your lifestyle can seem like a daunting task, but I can tell you firsthand that the benefits exponentially outweigh the hard stuff. Here are five things you must do if you would like to instill a healthy lifestyle:
1. Find a program that is right for you.
There are many reputable health plans. Do your due diligence. Consult with your doctor. Ask people you know who have been on this journey what worked for them and what to expect. (Feel free to ask me too.)
2. Make sure you implement accountability.
It would be an understatement to say that I would not have had any success without my wife, Jessica, and my health coach, Jennifer. I set weekly goals with Jennifer that Jessica and I could both keep track of. It was also easy to ask questions when I encountered a problem.
3. Go at your own pace.
It can be discouraging if you do not see results right away. DO NOT GIVE UP! Consistency counts and your body will get used to your new lifestyle sooner or later.
4. Enjoy the process.
Make it fun! Celebrate often! When you lose ten pounds call your accountability partners. When you reach a new milestone at the gym, enjoy your success and give praise to God.
5. Make it contagious.
There will come a point where people are going to start calling attention to how much better you look. We are to be humble, but we are also called to care for others. There are subtle ways to ask others if they would like to live a healthier lifestyle as well. If they say yes, then point them in the direction of a good coach or support system.
November of this year marked one year that I have been focusing on my health, and I could not be happier. My doctor was overjoyed with my most recent appointment. Two weeks ago I ran my first half marathon, and I have just another 20 pounds to go before I reach my ideal weight.
In addition, I have seen a ripple effect. My kids have noticed the difference in having an active father. Now they are all running with me in the morning and eating better too. Even friends of ours and members of our church family have started taking their health more seriously.
Turning 40 for some is a bleak time, but I am looking forward to this decade being one of the happiest and healthiest times of my life. Glory to God!
About the Author
Bill Francavilla pastors Relevant Church in Williamsburg, Virginia. Having earned his master’s degree in theological studies from Liberty University, Bill has been active in missions to Mexico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. He and his wife, Jessica, have four children: Alex, Liam, Rita Grace, and Gino.