apple[1]Genesis 1:31 tells us that, “God saw all that He had made, and it was very good.” As we leap into another year and experience a fresh start to the calendar, Scripture provides us with an abundance of simple truths that remind us where we came from, what we are created for, and how we have been knit together.

Likewise, our culture offers a plethora of literature commonly known as “self-help.” The self-help book industry grossed an estimated $600 million last year alone. It’s fueled by a continual strong interest in diet books. A lot of these books are sold in the month of January, because many people are still focusing on their New Year’s resolutions.

To stay informed, I read through some popular “self-help” books. I noticed a common theme. Many of them are rooted in the concept of finding happiness. One particular book began with a touching testimony about a woman’s struggle with emotional eating and her battle to overcome this health challenge in her own power. By the end of her gripping story, she noted that it takes consistent effort to live a good & meaningful life. Most of us can’t bring about change alone. If we could, all we would require is a simple set of rules – a law perhaps? Sound familiar?

By our nature we struggle when we live by a list of rules. Exercise and dietary rules have been around since the beginning of time, but they have not made us a healthier society. One possible reason might be because so much of what we do and consume is wrapped up in our relationships. Well-known Christian author and counselor, Gary Smalley, wrote a book called Food and Love. In the book he outlines the connection between food, relationships, and physical and emotional health. As he draws the link between each of the four traits, he shows how a positive or negative cycle can be formed from our food and exercise habits. God created it this way! He desires to protect us and keep us healthy for His good work.

Our lifestyle choices are left in our hands, and a majority of these choices are influenced by our relationships. We can set ourselves up for success when it comes to healthy eating by intentionally consuming fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and healthy snacks. We can also accomplish this by setting aside time for activity – ideally with a friend, family member, or pet. As often as possible we should challenge ourselves to get caught in the “positive cycle” of healthy living.

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