Tag Archives: fitness

Makeshift Reblog

A friend of mine has started posting some parts of a philosophy of holistic fitness that he’s been thinking through. He focuses on the common experiences that unite us – shared ideas based on what it means and feels like to be a physical being. While I love to pick on him (usually in retribution) and disagree with him about many things, I’ve always enjoyed hearing his perspective. 
Maybe you will too. 

It appears he has reblogs turned off, but links work just fine.

Making Time

“I would, but I don’t have the time!”

Whether the topic is exercise, writing, a volunteer opportunity, or some other optional pursuit, I’ve heard and said those words countless times. I’m sure you have too.

But we’ve all probably heard it said: <em>You make time for what matters to you.</em>

It took me by surprise a few years ago, but writing really matters to me. Given my job–or more specifically my desire to keep my job–fitness matters too. Most of all, spending time with my wife and kids is a priority, but it’s so easy to get distracted and shove that to “tomorrow.”

I’ve found I can double the benefit I get out of the same amount of time.

One: a lot of my writing is done on a stationary bike. I can prop up the iPad and Bluetooth keyboard, and tap keys while pushing the pedals. Can’t I find an hour a day to spend on NaNoWriMo? Why not spend it on the bike?

Two: I took a board we had from moving and laid it across the arms of our treadmill. Makeshift desk for free instead of hundreds of dollars, and I can walk at a light pace (2-3 mph) while writing. It’s not much, but it’s not sedentary!

Three: I’ve been reading to my kids for some family time, doing funny voices for different characters and sharing some of my favorite books with them. Now I often do it while walking on the treadmill. Again 3 mph seems the magic pace where I can read (a little uncomfortably) while challenging myself a bit.

Four: For relaxation, I play video games like World of Warcraft on my laptop. Hello, treadmill desk! Yes, I’ve run instances in WoW and finished off quests while walking on the treadmill at the same time. If I’m going to play for an hour (haha, an hour, that’s so cute, let’s be honest 3 or 4 hours) I might as well get something beneficial out of the time. Something more than just another level or another piece of pretend equipment.

Five: “But Dave,” you say, “I don’t have a treadmill, and I don’t have access to a good gym or a stationary bike.” Great point. Let’s assume you’re fortunate enough to have a tablet or at least a smartphone. Hopefully you also have access to a school track or walking path, or a safe sidewalk route where you won’t get run over or jostled by other pedestrians. (Come on, certainly you have a place to walk.) I walk around the track sometimes, tapping away at my on-screen keyboard or entering words into my wee little phone screen. I’m going to have to edit later anyway, so mistakes and auto-correct failures don’t really matter. And do I look weird? No, I just look like I’m trying to relive my teenage years, walking with my head down, eyes and thumbs glued to my personal device. People are going to judge anyway. I might as well do something productive while they’re doing it.

I know, none of these are novel ideas or earth-shattering fitness breakthroughs.

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What they are, though, are answers to many of my excuses.

What have you found as a helpful way to maximize your productivity? I’d love to hear in a comment.

Grinding Gears

This morning I forced myself out of bed to honor a commitment.

My swollen Frankenstein foot is healing. I’m attending physical therapy sessions to strengthen it. But my whole body needs exercise. My speed has to improve, and my waistline must shrink so I can pass a fitness test.

Time to move.

The first hundred feet powerwalking feel like running a motor with no oil. Like trying to get my tires out of mud or gravel, and they’re spinning with no traction.

It’s like my old 10-speed after a long winter. I’d pull it out of the garage once the snow melted, and spray WD-40 over the chain and gears. But it still took a few minutes of pedaling to shake everything loose. Grinding metal. Sudden jolts as the chain stuck and snapped loose. Frequent rattling. Then finally, it became reliable.

Even then, when I shifted speeds, the chain would sometimes slip off. I’d have to stop, put it back together, get the chain back on track, and start up again.

Effort is the oil in the engine of greatness.

The Chinese understand this. Their word for “to add oil; lubricate” ( 加油 / jia you, pronouced “jah yo”) has the figurative meaning of increasing effort, pushing harder, stepping on the gas.

With this foot, I’m never going to be a marathon runner. I’ll probably never sprint very fast. I won’t be an awesome basketball player.

But I will regain and surpass the speed I once could achieve on this foot. And I will be able to shoot hoops with my daughter again. And who knows, maybe even I’ll go back to running a fitness test instead of merely walking.

Because I will wake up on cold mornings, spray some “oil” on that ankle, suck it up, and start walking. I will get on the bike, strap my feet in, and turn up the resistance. And when it gets easy, I’ll add another level or two.

What matters isn’t where you’re at now. Where you were before doesn’t matter either. What matters is where you’re headed, and what you’re willing to do to get there.

Writing–really, any creative effort–is similar. I used to say writing was a hobby. But I’ve put in effort and study to improve my craft. I keep doing so. I call myself a writer, because writing is what I do, what I will continue to do.

In fact, I call myself author, because I’ve written numerous short stories and devotionals. I’ve put over a hundred thousand words into a manuscript and I have composed over 150 songs. Maybe soon I will self-publish. With some hope, maybe I will one day have work printed in a publication or published by a professional company.

All I know is that today I will sit down at the keyboard and turn words into sentences, phrases into paragraphs, passages into chapters. Then I’ll edit and revise until it’s the strongest work I can produce today.

And I won’t be content with that, so I’ll make myself do better tomorrow.

I’m not saying I’m great. I’m saying I’m not satisfied.

What commitment to yourself are you going to honor today?

Staying Honest

Does one of your New Year’s resolutions have something to do with fitness?

Are you out to achieve a specific number of pounds off the scale or inches off your waistline?

There’s an old adage that the true magic occurs not in the gym but in the kitchen.

Diet has a great deal to do with fitness… not “diet” like “planned starvation” but diet like taking into account what all you’re eating and making healthy choices.

While counting calories is never fun, I suggest taking advantage of useful resources like the MyFitnessPal app or sites like http://www.sparkpeople.com to track food consumption.

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The app gives you a calorie goal based on your activity level, current weight, and goals. There’s a database of foods, you can scan UPCs to make entries, and you can create your own recipes for future use. Sites like sparkpeople have similar capabilities along with resources and articles.

Even if I don’t make my goal on a given day, entering everything keeps me honest and conscious of what all I’m taking in. For a non-marathon-running, non-Crossfit-joining average guy like me, the key to any fitness success has been regular exercise combined with calorie counting.

Give it a shot if you’re not already doing it. I’d love to hear how you like it.

Also, if you already have a tool or method, I’m curious what works best for you.

And best of luck meeting those goals, whether it’s a New Year resolution or a simple desire for a fit lifestyle.

Cue the Montage

If I try to structure my blog posts at all, then Saturday is when I post a “Storyline.” Usually it’s a piece of creative writing or something related to the books bouncing around in my head.

Today, I’m going to share a bit of my story. It’s late, but it’s still Saturday. And I’ve backed off from rigidly following that daily structure in these posts. And it’s my blog so I DO WHAT I WANT!

Specifically, I’m thinking about the upcoming surgery I have scheduled on March 5th, and the recovery process that will follow. And I ask myself if this is really necessary.

Gonna get very familiar these once again!
Gonna get very familiar these once again!

For almost twenty years now, I’ve noticed occasional stiffness and pain in my ankle after high-impact activities. It was usually a short ache or a feeling like the joint locked in place and simply needed a good pop. I’d pop the ankle and massage the joint, and move on with my day.

About 2000, I realized it was gradually but steadily getting worse. I soon learned that some of my favorite sports were out of the question. No basketball, no racquetball, no volleyball… I had to quit doing anything that called for pivoting the ankle or making fast movements and changes of direction. I was never very good at any of those sports, so it didn’t feel like a big loss.

Not long after that, the Air Force revamped the fitness program, pushing for more running. Squadron fitness sessions followed suit, and I spent two or three days a week pounding pavement around Kadena. The next day following the run would be full of stiffness, constant aching, and sharp stabbing pains. My ankles would sometimes give out, and I’d stumble. Or the pain would be such that I would slowly work my way down the stairs, eliciting comments and questions from my coworkers.

Imagine you’re walking along and someone raps your ankle with a hammer – not hard enough to break anything or make you fall over, but enough to grab your complete attention for a minute or two until the pain subsides. That’s how it feels most days after I run.

I tried checking with the military doctors, but they were convinced I was not stretching enough. Or I weighed more than I should, and the problem was just the excess weight. They taught me exercises to mitigate the effects of plantar fasciitis, and they suggested diet programs. But the answers boiled down to “Live with it.”

So I did.

I’m not the doctor. I don’t have the medical degree on the wall. I assume they know what they’re talking about.

This went on for a few more years, until the day that I had to crawl around my house rather than put weight on my feet after a simple walk through the Commissary for a grocery shopping trip. My wife got me to re-attack with the doctors, and this time, I got a referral to a podiatrist who ran a CAT scan.

He pulled me into the office and pointed out several noticeable problems with my foot and ankle structure. Then he called attention to the various shadows in the ankle bones, and explained, “That’s advanced degenerative arthritis. It’s much worse than it should be for someone your age.”

Way to make me feel old.

The good news was the doctor had a plan.

The bad news was, so did the Air Force. It took nine months to align dates so that I could get surgery, but I finally got it. We had to work around military education, mission needs, a new office, and squadron deployments. The plan was to get the right foot fixed, then give me time to recover and return to flying duties. After a few months back on flight status, we would get the left knocked out.

I had surgery on my right foot in 2010. The surgeon went in through the right side and carved off some excess bone which was pushing other parts of the ankle out of place. Then he stuck a titanium screw up through my heel to fuse together two of the bones in my ankle.

The recovery process took about five months. By then, increased demands on the squadron got in the way of the original plan. First I needed to fly local sorties, then I was sent on a deployment. By the time I returned, it was time to start preparing to move to a new duty location. I did not want to try to move my family of six across the world while on crutches wearing a cast. Needless to say, the left ankle never got done.

Sadly, the bones didn’t fuse like they were supposed to, so now instead of fixing the left ankle, we get to revisit the right and try to do it “right” (Ha ha). The doc has to take out the old screw, graft in some bone, and put in a new screw. Second time’s the charm, or so we hope. We’re going to help the odds a bit with an infusion of vitamin D and an ultrasonic device meant to stimulate bone growth and recovery.

I know this is going to be a long and difficult process. I have to watch my diet while in a cast, because I will not be able to exercise or be anywhere near as active as I am now. I have to throw myself into physical therapy and personal exercise as soon as that cast comes off, because I will have my next fitness test coming due.

Where's "Eye of the Tiger" when I need it?
Where’s “Eye of the Tiger” when I need it?

I need a sweet action-movie montage where the hero gets into shape for the big battle against the forces of evil (or the fitness testing cell). I have a story to write in the next few months, but not with words. It’ll be with sets of push-ups and planks, hours of spinning on a cycle or elliptical, weeks of tracking every calorie consumed or burned, every pound gained or lost. It’ll also be dealing with the looks or unspoken judgments of those who don’t know all the details – accepting that some people will assume instead of ask,  condemn instead of encourage.

I know I can write this story, because I did it three years ago.

But I’m not looking forward to it.

Stories resonate so well because everyone has one of their own. There’s a drama going on in every life that you and I may not be privy to. It’s easy to jump to a conclusion, but just like any good book, if you do that, you miss the most important details.

The movie montage seems so nice because it shortens all the hours of suck into a few minutes of hard work, set to a driving beat. Of course, life has no such short-cuts, and achievements do not come so easily.

I know I’m not the only one who has a similar story of long, hard work to recover from injury or achieve a difficult goal. What kept you going when it would have been easy to quit? What did you find inspired you to push harder, work longer, and succeed?

Everyone has a story, and I’d love to hear yours.

Yes You Can

Maybe
Sort of…

Oh, I know, the Democratic National Convention is going on. And last campaign was all about “Yes We Can.” I’ll leave it to you to decide whether that’s the case.

I’m not going to weigh in, because it’s time for Fitness Friday.

And that means no politics, just pain (with eventual gain).

Speaking of weighing in, I punched 15 pounds of fat in the face over the last 5 weeks. Yay!

So what that means is I had way too much on me already, and so a slight diet change and a lot of plain old boring exercise got the job done. Now that the easy part of getting started is done, I imagine I will have to push it harder to make more progress.

My body rebels at the thought.

Good thing my mind is here to tell my body to shut its mouth. (Shut it, mouthbreather!)

Bikes that go nowhere? LOL.

I’ve mentioned before that I spent a couple years as an indoor cycling instructor. I had a friend who was a regular, and he told me the Spin class is awesome and challenging. I said something along the lines of “Psssh… you’re sitting in a room riding a bike to nowhere. Is that even a workout?”

I went to one class and got destroyed. But I fell in love. This is a workout, more than any other, where it’s all up to you. You’re only working out as hard as you make yourself work. You’ve got the resistence knob. No one (usually) comes and turns up your resistence for you. You’ve got to bring it all by your lonesome. Otherwise, you’re wasting your time and you might as well have stayed home on the computer (in my case) or couch (if computer doesn’t work for you).One of the instructors that inspired me to pursue that certification had a favorite phrase. Every time he told us to spin that resistence knob to the point that our legs started screaming, he would growl out this sentence:

You can do this. Be strong. Your mind gives up long before your muscles give out.

Also, “We love the hills!”

This is nothing new. The concept of willpower is not a recent discovery to the world of sports.

But sometimes we need reminders.

It’s not always what you don’t yet know that defeats you. It’s what you know but don’t live out.

This is true in many areas of fitness. It matches up with everything I’ve heard from distance runners. You just keep putting one foot in front of the other, because you know you can keep going. I know sprinters probably get tempted to quit when they’re getting ready for their next interval. I’m sure that lifters hit a moment just before muscle failure where it’s easy to think, “I’ve worked pretty hard. These last two reps probably don’t matter.” Or is that just me?

Apart from physical therapy, no one’s going to come move your muscles for you. No one’s going to run behind you and push you along. You might not have anyone around when you hit that wall and feel like giving up, so you won’t hear an encouraging shout or a friendly challenge. All you’ve got is the little voice in your head saying, “Your mind will give up long before your muscles. Be strong.”

This isn’t just an athletic concept. This applies to all of life.

When you are learning somehing new – piano lessons, perhaps, or economic theory, or whatever floats your boat – you have the choice. You can apply yourself and push hard. Or you can take the easy way out

Emotionally, when life is hard, you can follow the path of least resistence and sulk about how unfair it all is. Or you can rise above, and remember that your mind wants to give up before you really get to the point where you can’t go on.

Spiritually, you can be content with where you’ve been, with the comfortable, with whatever you’ve done before. Or you can pursue the something more that you know is out there waiting

Building any form of discipline will take work. Good news! You are up to the task. You are strong. Yes, you can.

No Fatties

Your run is not the proper form. Those steps don’t count toward completing the mile and a half.

If you aren’t closely associated with the Air Force, you may not know about our focus on physical fitness. The service has gone to great lengths in the last ten years to push our Airmen to be physically ready for the rigors of deployments and demanding operations tempo.

We used to be known as the Chair Force. (Maybe we still are.) It was accepted wisdom that if you wanted a physical challenge, you joined the Army or Marines. If you had brains and wanted an easy job with high quality of life, you joined the Air Force or the Navy.

Then, after September 11th, we started deploying with members from other branches, and the Air Force couldn’t cut it. Our Chief of Staff took drastic measures to turn that trend around. I totally understand the reasons for that change, and the results have been a clear benefit.

We’ve been pushing hard for physical fitness ever since. We’re not the Marines or anything, of course. But God help you if you don’t meet standards.

Now here’s the reason for the Thursday Tirade:

Though PT is a core component of being your best as an Airman, it’s not the most important. Yet we often treat it as if it is.

This isn’t just a fattie whining because I like to eat bacon. (Seriously, though. More bacon!)

My frustration is how we apply fitness as a determining factor for things completely unrelated to it.

If you’re failing your PT test, you cannot get promoted, because you don’t meet standards. Makes sense.  You can’t reenlist. I get that – we want to make sure we retain people who can and will keep up. You can’t attend professional military education, because that’s part of progressing in your career, which is going to end fast if you can’t pass the test. Sure, that’s understandable.

No, seriously. How can you be counted on to help disabled kids in your bloated condition?

Turns out there’s a lot of other things you can’t do.You can’t volunteer at the Distinguished Visitor tent for the big base Air Show. To that, I say, “meh.” I get it. We’re not going to put someone busting the seams of their uniform in front of our generals. No surprise there.

But what about helping disabled children experience the Air Show through the Make-a-Wish foundation? Nope, you can’t volunteer for that either. Well, you can, but you have to send in PT test scores. And the only reason you should have to do that is if it affects whether you can volunteer. So the unspoken message is clear: fatties need not apply.

Because disabled kids are probably going to get a bad impression of the Air Force if the person who helps them can’t do enough push-ups, or has a 40 inch waist. Right.

The straw that broke the blogger’s back and moved this into Tirade Thursday territory came a week ago. A sergeant in our squadron was driving off-base and witnessed an auto accident. He stopped, rushed to the first vehicle, and confirmed that the passengers were okay. Then he went to the second vehicle, an SUV that rolled over (if memory serves). He ensured the kids in the back were fine, and then started using the Self-Aid Buddy Care medical training the Air Force taught him in order to treat the severely injured mother of said children. Then he directed paramedics to the scene and explained all he had done to treat the mother prior to their arrival.

We give medals for that sort of thing. It’s a way of saying, “What you did that day in that situation was awesome. Good job.”

There was a comment on his achievement medal submission. This individual had a two PT failures in the last two years or so. Someone asked whether we would need to put in a letter to justify a medal for such an individual. We thought that was ridiculous, because we’re talking about “on this particular day, you did something phenomenal,” not “Over the last three years, you’ve done good.”

But we asked the question.

And the answer was, “Yes, please submit a letter to justify this.”

“I’m sorry, I know you responded with honor and selflessness in an emergency, and you possibly saved the life of an injured mother while her kids were looking on… but you didn’t meet standards a couple years ago, so… how about a nice pat on the back? (Oh, and put down the fork.)”

I would think this is exactly what we want Airmen with PT failures to do. Get involved in the community. Help some disabled kids have a special day. Save a life here or there as the need arises.  Refocus priorities and go serve others. Think about something bigger than themselves, pun intended. (I’m fat. I get to make fat jokes.)

But apparently that’s not what the Air Force wants.

I’m not saying fitness should not be a priority. But let’s keep it in perspective a little bit, please.

Fitness Friday

Welcome to the new category, Fitness Friday. This is the first such post, and here’s what to expect: I am no fitness guru with a wealth of information about how to squeeze out that last little bit of performance or lose that last percentage of body fat to meet your goal. I was a certified indoor cycling instructor and taught classes for a couple years, but I’m no expert.

We love the hills!
Good times. Bring a gel seat.

However, I have lots of time in the gym spent thinking about exercise and how it relates to the rest of life. There are lessons that apply not only to physical fitness, but to mental and emotional health, and even spirituality. And the first lesson is:                Fitness is about me, not anyone else.

No one runs my race for me; no one else can push me to my maximum effort. How fast or slow another person runs means nothing for my fitness. I am only competing with myself.

When the Air Force gives me a fitness test, it doesn’t matter how well everyone else can do push-ups. It doesn’t matter if someone next to me can’t do a single sit-up. If that guy over there has a bulging waist that causes him to fail, that doesn’t affect my test.

                I’m up against me.

Competition can be healthy, don’t get me wrong. It can spur a person to new heights of performance. It can push us past what we might have thought of as our limit. Athletes strive to be the very best, with good reason.

But when I exercise, it’s not about everyone else’s condition. It’s not about how strong the next guy is or how fast the woman is doing sprints. It’s not about how much better I am, either. Comparing myself to others is silly, because everyone has a different fitness level.

Challenge yourself. Push your limits.

I have to find my motivation and push myself. I have to make my workout worth the time I’m spending. What matters is this: Am I challenging myself to be better than I was before? Am I running my race with 100% effort? Am I lifting weights that challenge my muscles and make me stronger? Am I straining against my personal limitations?

This applies to mental fitness as well. Am I always learning? Am I growing, developing my skills and my awareness of the world around me? Or am I content to remain ignorant?

Spiritually, am I pushing myself toward intimacy with God? Or am I stagnant, content to rest on what I’ve done in the past? Am I like a former Olympian, sitting in the gym, thinking and bragging about the glory days of what I once did, but growing weak through present inactivity?

Paul wrote to one of his churches about “some of those who commend themselves.” He said, “when they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are without understanding” (2 Corinthians 10:12 NASB).

What he’s saying is, when we look at each other and say, “I’m faster than him, I’m smarter than her, I’m more patient than him, I’m more spiritual than her,” we miss the point.

Sprint it out!
Let us run with endurance the race set before us!

It’s about living at our personal maximum potential. At the end of his life, Paul looked back and was able to say, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7 NASB). He wasn’t concerned with declaring himself better than anyone else, or claiming to be the best. He was concerned that he had given his all for the cause.Whatever your cause, give it your all. Don’t hold anything back. Your race isn’t against me or anyone else. It’s against a version of yourself that is content with mediocrity and being less than all that is possible.

“Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1 NASB).

The stopwatch is ticking.

Start running.

Oaths and Vows

“Now is the hour! Riders of Rohan! Oaths you have taken, now fulfill them all, to lord and land!” – Eomer, The Return of the King.

I love the Rohirrim.

Forth, Eorlingas!
If we’re going to die, we’re taking a lot of you with us.

When I read the books as a kid, I did not grasp the power of their commitment to their oaths. I didn’t really consider that they were riding to presumed death because “we promised.” Consider this conversation:

Gamling: We do not have the numbers to defeat the armies of Mordor.

Theoden: No, we do not. Yet we will meet them in battle nonetheless.

Why? Because honor and oaths demanded it.

4 When you make a vow to God, do not be late in paying it; for He takes no delight in fools. Pay what you vow! 5 It is better that you should not vow than that you should vow and not pay.
– Ecclesiastes 5:4-5 NASB

Oaths are powerful, so long as they are upheld. But they really only matter to the one who makes the oath and the one to whom it is made.

The lap of luxury
Life is an aisle-way, I’m gonna scoot it all night long…

Wal-Mart’s customers aren’t held to fitness standards. I know, that’s a real news flash, right? (I’ll skip links to unfortunate pictures of Wal-Mart customers.)

Imagine walking into your local Wal-Mart and stopping random folk to conduct a weight and waist measurement. Try conducting an impromptu fitness test on the first person you see riding around on a scooter cart. How many push-ups and sit-ups can they do in a minute?

You’re not going to have much luck.

No one would expect you to, either.

On 28 Dec 1994, I stood in the MEPS center in Chicago and raised my right hand. I swore an oath of enlistment. At that moment, a new set of standards applied to me… standards I wasn’t even fully aware of at the time. I would soon learn about all the various regulations that my superiors expected me to follow. And if I ever failed to uphold standards, I was reminded that this was a voluntary choice on my part. No one drafted me. No one held a gun to my head. I raised my right hand of my own free will.

In January of 1997, I remember kneeling at the altar of my church and re-dedicating my life to Christ, not just as the “Get Out of Hell Free” Savior but as the “Not my will but Yours be done” Lord. No one forced me to my knees or put words in my mouth. I made a choice.

I wonder what would happen if I went into Wal-Mart to give a spiritual fitness test to random customers. “These are the standards. It’s all written here in the ‘regs’ of the Bible. This is what you need to measure up to. How’s your prayer life? When was the last time you served someone in need? More than simply walking into a church, have you connected with like-minded people in the last year?”

I might have better success than I would with the AF PT test, but that’s beside the point.

The question is, have those people made a commitment that demands adherence to the same spiritual standards I follow? Did they raise their right hands to God and swear an oath, or fall on their knees to dedicate their lives to Him?

If not, then why should I expect them to live up to my religious standards?

My wife has often asked, “Why are we trying to hold the world to our standards? They aren’t followers of Christ. Why should we expect them to live like something they’re not?”

Maybe we followers of Christ need to focus on how well we’re measuring up to our own standards first.

In the Air Force, I failed to meet PT standards. Now I’m working to correct that. I can look around and say, “But that guy looks fat in uniform. And those civilians are really out of shape. And I know a lady who can’t run to save her life but she gets an Excellent because she’s a twig.”

None of them are taking my test for me. I raised my hand. I swore an oath. I have a standard to uphold.

Some will say, “But what about preaching against sin? Jesus didn’t just love people. He also said,

‘Go and sin no more.'”

Absolutely. But I’m concerned with the way we communicate that message.

NOT made of vitamins
You mean they’re NOT healthy?

I could walk in to Wal-Mart and yell or even gently discuss all the facts about heart disease and proper nutrition and the benefits of exercise. I could make it as simple as “Eat less, move more.”

People already know that. I don’t think anyone would have a sudden epiphany. “You mean the food I eat and the sitting on the couch I do all day is making me fat? Thank you! I never understood where it was coming from!”

I think the message on a lot of sin has already gotten out there. When we rant against favorite target sins like homosexuality, pornography, and abortion, we’re saying what people already know. “The Church thinks porn is BAD?”

Also NOT healthy
This is bad for me too? Why didn’t someone tell me?

When we focus so much on telling people their faults, many times, we’re repeating what they’ve already heard. And we’re probably talking to people with absolutely no interest in what we have to say.

In most cases, people pursued Jesus. They wanted to hear what He had to say, because He ministered to them. In some cases, He initiated the conversation, and even then, He first demonstrated something to give them a reason to listen.

When we are in relationship with people, or when we demonstrate love through genuine action instead of mere words, people might care to hear what we have to say.

We need not and must not ignore the detrimental effects of sin. We must be honest about that. Yet we need not be combative or prideful in our efforts. The collateral damage we do in that case far outweighs any momentary benefits.

May we focus on the oaths we have taken, the vows we have made. May we show ourselves faithful. Because I suspect when people see that we are real and our love is sincere, they might even start caring what we have to say.

And we might be able to say it right.