Not only was I a fat kid, I was also a very weak kid. I could remember other kids being stronger and faster than me. Back in high school, one boy squeezed my hand so hard that I nearly cried "Uncle," and he left saying, "See, that shows that I'm stronger than you are."
Now, fast forward that to when I was a physical education teacher in my 30s. I did sit-ups with about 160 pounds of cinder blocks on my chest in front of high schoolers. I tried racing against a high school student with a 200-plus-pound boy on my back. And I had one middle-school kid who told his mom that he wanted a chest like "Mr. Jones."
I like being physically strong. It means that I could be more independent and do more things. When you're weak, you would always need someone else's help, and you can't move on until you get help. When you're physically strong, you could do almost anything by yourself and you won't feel helpless.
But there is something else I like more than physical strength: mental strength. Having mental strength is much more rewarding than physical strength, because when you make up your mind to do something, it will happen. It's mental strength that leads to physical strength, because you have to psych yourself to lift those weights on the days you feel lazy. When you have mental strength, you could pursue whatever it is you want in life. You could lose the weight, gain the muscles, learn the skills, and accomplish any goal that's on your heart. But if you're mentally weak, then the biggest thing you could accomplish is simply staying alive.
One thing I tell my CPR students is that performing CPR is quite easy. The hard part is DECIDING whether or not to do it. Deciding to take action is much harder than the action itself. A task could take you only 5 minutes to complete, but you have to spend 5 weeks thinking about it. Another task might only take you two seconds to complete, but it took you two hours to think about it. The physical task is never as intense as the mental task.
Losing weight is pretty easy -- and I could say that, because I've spent nearly 10 years helping people lose weight and get in shape. I have lost weight myself several times. The hardest part about losing weight is making the DECISION to lose weight. You have to make up your mind to start a weight-loss journey AND complete it. Most of us are good at starting the journey, but very few of us are good at actually completing the journey.
How many times have I seen people start their weight-loss or fitness plan just to fall off the wagon and drop off the face of the earth? Plenty! Why does this happen? Mental weakness. Eventually, we become so mentally weak that we cannot complete what we've started.
What makes mental strength so hard to obtain is that our minds are always fighting with our bodies. The mind wants to do one thing, but the body wants to do another. I think about something Jesus once said: "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak" (Matthew 26:41). Think about walking with one leg asleep. Have you ever done that before? It feels weird walking when one of your legs go numb. If the leg takes a while to "wake up," then you could only go so far. But if the leg is completely awake, then you could go anywhere. Our bodies are like legs that have fallen asleep, while our minds are hungry to chase after something.
Here's the thing about the body being weak: it will ALWAYS be weak! You won't ever have days where your body wants to do exactly what your mind determines to do. This is why mental strength is so important: without it, the body won't do anything. Breaking a bad habit or learning something new won't happen unless your mind MAKES the body do it. All the body is good for is surviving. Your mind is good for THRIVING. Ever heard the term "failure to thrive"? The thriving part is all mental. The body could survive just fine without the mind, but YOU cannot thrive without the will of the mind.
The more you strengthen the mind, the more you could do with yourself. I think about another scripture that says, "I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should" (1st. Corinthians 9:27). How do you make your body your slave? By making up your mind to do so, and realizing that your mind, not your body, is in control. You aren't forced to do anything. You determine what you do, whether or not your body agrees.
My kids are disciplined. Yes, they still act like kids at times, but when I give the word, they do what I say. During these times, a parent controlling their children seems to possess special powers. Wow, how could you get your kids to clean their rooms? Simple: I just tell them to do it. But that doesn't work in my house! Why? Aren't you the parent? Aren't you the boss? For me, I could simply snap my fingers and my kids know to listen. Why? Because I'm in charge. I'm the boss. What I say goes. I have this attitude as a parent and as a teacher at church. My word is gospel to these children. And whenever I have children who decide to test my authority, I'll put more energy into that child so he or she would know who is the law.
In the same way, you need to treat your body as if you're parenting a child. You are in charge, not your body. The more you realize that you are in full control of your actions, you could discipline your body to do whatever you want it to do. The key to change is all in the mind. It's all in realizing that once you make up your mind to do something, it will happen. But if you let your body overcome your mind, you'll be like a first-year school teacher who's simply trying to survive the school year -- and I could say that, because I was once a first-year school teacher.
All information in this blog are for inspirational purposes only. Unless otherwise stated, all content is written and copyrighted by Aiyo A. Jones.