Living Well

13 Mar

So, I want to talk a little bit about the core reason why I’m doing this C25K program. I am lucky enough to receive excellent health benefits, paid for by my employer, through Portico (formerly the Board of Pensions). Portico provides health and retirement benefits for rostered leaders, their families, and other staff in the ELCA. Portico uses the Mayo Clinic EmbodyHealth program to help leaders in the ELCA think about their wellness. Members are invited to take a health assessment, administered by the Mayo Clinic, which can help them evaluate their own health and the areas where they can improve — and as a bonus, if a certain percentage of the employees in your institution (synod, seminary, etc.) take the health assessment, your institution receives a discount, benefitting everyone. One of the greatest aspects of the EmbodyHealth program is the availability of wellness coaching — one-on-one phone conversations with Mayo Clinic staff who offer suggestions on how to improve your health, and assist you in setting goals to live a healthier lifestyle.

When I had my initial conversation with John, my wellness coach, we talked about why I wanted to do this coaching. Part of it is just because I know I need to be healthier, and I might as well take advantage of the resources I have now. But the overwhelming reason for me is that I want to be a better leader. When I’m not living a healthy lifestyle, it means I am more prone to get sick. When I get sick, it means I can’t do my job to the fullest — and believe me, I do not go to work every day just to check things off my to-do list. I go to work every day because this is the ministry to which God has called me at this time in my life, and I want to serve God’s people to the best of my ability.

It also means I am not leading by example. As someone who is passionate about youth and young adult ministry, I want to encourage young people to live healthy lifestyles — to eat right, get plenty of exercise, and make good choices about their overall wellness. How can I have any clout with young people, who can sniff out inauthenticity in a second, if I’m living an unhealthy lifestyle?

In the end, I want to be the best rostered leader I can be for as long as I can be. I want to be a good steward of the life that God has given me so I can continue to answer God’s call. I’m at the perfect point in my life to be developing this new lifestyle — I’m young, I don’t have a family that has adapted to my habits, and I have a semi-regular schedule that permits the kinds of changes I need to make. To not take advantage of this program at this time would be irresponsible and poor stewardship.

So, my goals? The initial goal I set with my coach a few weeks back was to plan my meals for the weeknights. When I get home for work and I don’t have a recipe in mind or any cohesive ingredients, it’s easy to default to fast food or takeout or some combination of snacks that don’t constitute a meal. I’ve been doing this for the past two weeks, and it is working fabulously. I choose healthy recipes, plan out my trips to the grocery store (which also ends up saving me money), and make really delicious dinners when I get home. Then I have leftovers (a lot of leftovers…I’m working on scaling back recipes) to eat for lunch, which also makes for healthier meals than what the Refectory is normally offering.

Since that has been going so well, I made an additional goal during my coaching follow-up tonight: to add a fourth workout to my current routine, most likely centered around strength training (thanks to a great suggestion from my friend Anna-Maria!), but possibly including more cardio. Something to add in more activity during the week. When John asked me how confident I was, on a scale of 1-10, that I could succeed at this goal between now and our next conversation, I was able to tell him that I was at a 9 or 10. When he asked why, I told him it was because of the support I’ve gotten from family and friends as I’ve started this journey toward wellness. The comments I get here, on facebook, and in person have made such a difference. They keep me accountable and are so incredibly encouraging. I owe a huge “thank you” to those who have helped me start this program and have offered such awesome support. It’s much bigger than being able to complete a 5K in May — it’s about living a healthy lifestyle and being a good steward of my wellness. Thank you — it means more than you know!


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