We all know those universal questions that we are just waiting for someone to ask us. Will you marry me? Will you accept your dream job position? Would you like a free upgrade to first class? Have you lost weight? Or my personal favorite: How would you like your steak? But for the sake of this story, today we’ll answer the question, “Have you lost weight?”
I was born in the Philippines and lived in Hong Kong until I was four years old. At that point, we moved to Artesia, CA, where the roots of my extended family were grounded after migrating from the homeland. We lived with my mom’s cousin, Exequiel, and his wife and kids for the first year. Since family is the foundation of Philippine culture, there was a time when we had about twenty-five relatives living on the same block–just so we can be closer to each other. The Filipino way of saying hello is “Come, let’s eat!” Never arrive to a family gathering full, because you are expected to eat and to bring food home for later. Your house must always be filled with food! Diets are not an option.
Since recently moving out of my family’s house in April, I realized I had to start making my own food. I started the Whole30 program: only fruit, vegetables, and meat for thirty consecutive days. I was not allowed to consume any processed foods, such as sugars, rice or grains, dairy, canola oil, or alcohol. If you cheat one day, the thirty days must start over. Believe it or not, I actually did the full thirty days! The benefits I experienced were more energy, clearer skin, minimal PMS symptoms, and my allergies may have even been reduced. If that didn’t get your attention, check out the full details of the program here. Most people have the perception that Whole30 is for losing weight, but it’s not about that. I never weighed myself- I actually don’t own a scale. When Whole30 ended, my pursuit for a healthier lifestyle was only beginning.
In this past couple of months, I’ve become more active; not just for the sake of fitness, but specifically in the building of my relationships. The correlation of my physical health and relational health with others go hand in hand. I get to develop strong muscles, while developing strong bonds with those around my community. I’ve also rediscovered the joy of a good night’s sleep, so that I’ll have energy to give to whomever I’m connecting with. From weekly gym dates, group classes, and even morning walks with new neighbors, it’s been an incredible season. The opportunity to establish a relationship through mirrored growth creates a rich desire to see the best for one another. Hebrews 10:24-25 says, “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another…”
When someone has asks me, “Have you lost weight?” I’ll answer it with this:
I’ve gained… I’ve gained in a new knowledge of my physical, spiritual and relational health. I’ve gained energy and strength. I’ve gained an even greater understanding of God’s love through my relationships in community. I’ve gained all this and much, much more.
The pursuit towards good health in all areas of life is what God has intended for us. This looks different for everyone, but I truly believe food, labor and love is what life’s all about. These are all gifts from the Lord that we get to enjoy together. My encouragement for you today is that you would invest in the relationships you’re already a part of, and that you would be open to new ways of connecting with people in your community.
“So whatever you eat, or drink, or whatever you do, do it for the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31
Here’s a fun shot from Pastor Obie’s drone at our house after an active day of hiking, skateboarding/scooters, and eating!