FIT AND FAITHFUL: GUIDELINES FOR PEACE OF MIND By Hemda Mizrahi and Maria DiGiuseppe

Fitness coach and personal trainer Maria DiGiuseppe describes her book, “Fit and Faithful,” as “a personal testimony of faith with professional fitness and nutrition guidance.” Identifying Christianity as a major influence in her life, she shares scriptures that provide universal direction for good health, regardless of your cultural affiliations.

Maria suggests, “we need the same principles, commitment and endurance with regard to our physical body as we do to our spiritual body in order to have good health and peace of mind. Living your life honestly and being mindful of how you influence others is one of the greatest contributions you can make.” She further advises:

ENSURE YOUR COMMITMENT TO CHANGE.
“Repentance or metanoia means, “to turn away from.” What modifications do you need to make to create a healthier lifestyle, such as “turning away” from overeating, excessive drinking, and a lack of discipline? Make these changes and write them down. Practically speaking, we can replace old habits with new ones. For example, instead of watching TV at night for two hours, take a one-hour walk around the neighborhood.  How many days a week can you commit to exercising? Make a pledge to yourself to stick to that plan. Beyond changing habits, commitment is about staying on the healthy lifestyle path! When you are steadfast, even if you lose the weight you want, or are in the best shape of your life, in the face of an upsetting experience or difficult challenge you’ll persevere! There is not a quitting option. If you’re going through a stressful event, the progress you’ve already made may help you to handle it better.

DEVELOP A MINDSET OF PERSEVERANCE.  
“If your life has taken a turn and you have to define a new sense of “normal,” that’s okay. Over time, you may be able to do something that you couldn’t do last year. If someone suggests that something you want to do is out of your reach, that you’re too old, or that it’s too late to accomplish your goals, keep in mind: If you can see it and plan it, you can achieve it!

While we live in a world in which so much is permissible, for some even one glass of wine is not a good idea. Addiction doesn’t mean that you do it daily or can’t live without it. It means that you’re doing something that causes you to suffer adverse consequences and yet you continue to do it. I believe this applies to relationships too. If a relationship only causes pain and stress, it’s probably best to put boundaries in place or get away from it all together. Try not to let the world dictate how you choose to live.

Romans 12:2 guides, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” Once you change your patterns and think differently about things, you will start becoming the best version of yourself and live an amazing life!  Pray for direction.”

ENGAGE FAITH AS A STANDARD FOR HEALTH & PEACE OF MIND.
Health is also being able to handle stress. Since some things are out of your control, I’m an advocate of trusting in something bigger than what you can understand. I believed the Bible had all the answers and knew that one day I would get around to reading it, but didn’t realize that I shouldn’t take time for granted. Define your standard today while you have the opportunity. Delineate what you believe. A strong foundation sets norms for how you live spiritually and with regard to good health. As the standard for Christians, the bible offers hope and answers to life’s questions. Matthew 7:7 says, “ask and you will receive, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you.”  

I think people can get caught in a vicious cycle. When one bad situation occurs after another, you might feel that your life is spiraling out of control. This is why I think it’s so important to have faith. It’s the umbrella over everything else. Faith according to Hebrews 11:1 is being certain of what you hope for, and confident of what you cannot see. Look for ways no matter how small, to pick yourself up. Suffering without seeking support can lead to disability and depression. Doctors may not have the answers but there may be other resources available to you, such as counseling or family support.  Don’t give up! Eventually you will see the light that is shining in the dark. Psalm 119:105 states: “your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.”  

Maria suggests that following the standard of a “higher power” makes for a disciplined life, much like how athletes train to be their best. She offers the guidance of Corinthians 9:24: “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.”

As you construct a foundation through which you can uphold your commitment, a mindset of perseverance, and discipline, Maria urges: “When you lack motivation, you can rely on the purpose that God gives you for your life, “for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose (Philippians 2:13).”

Listen to my conversation with Maria on “Turn the Page” to learn about the four concepts that she sees as essential for physical and spiritual health.