I have reached 900 miles a little after the one-year anniversary of my starting this challenge. What is the “reward” that keeps me motivated to walk an average of 4 miles daily along my city’s streets, imagining myself on a road to Seattle, where my siblings live? My greatest reward has been my improved health, something that goes beyond any monetary value. I am sharing my testimony to encourage you to get on the path to better health by walking. Many of you may have been like me, striving to lose weight - especially around the belly area! - but we know it is not easy. I’m sure we’ve all tried countless ways to shed pounds, but the ugly potbelly seems to always remain, sticking out from under our shirts. A few times, my family doctor recommended me to start different lifestyle management techniques as my blood sugar level hovered in the prediabetic range (Hemoglobin A1C of 5.7-6.4%). We know how hard it is to manage diabetes and all the health issues that can result from it. I made up my mind to skip lunch and walk outdoors on the streets during the COVID-19 pandemic. I did not want to remain in “lockdown” in my house; I’d rather go outside to walk. When I just started walking, I did not have a specific goal, so my walking last spring was a bit more sporadic. Then, a campaign that was listed in The American Legion Magazine last August caught my eyes: the 100 Miles for Hope challenge that would last until Veterans Day. This was a worthy goal, and I accepted the challenge.
When the Jews were exiled to the foreign land of Babylon (modern-day Iran) in the 6th century B.C. for 70 years, there was a Jewish youth named Daniel who became the prime mister in this adopted country after using God’s wisdom to interpret the Babylonian king’s dreams. He was young, but he was faithful to God and courageous to stand up for his conscience in critical moments. While he and his three friends served in the royal court, they were determined not to eat the king’s food: “But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of eunuchs…” (Daniel 1:8-16). What was their reward after 10 days? Their appearance was better than those of others who had continued eating the king’s food.
What is the best way to lose weight? The answer is to not eat so much! We should take in less food and exercise. It is a simple solution, but most people eat too much: three large meals a day, going to all-you-can-eat restaurants, indulging themselves at special events. On top of their regular food consumption, people love to drink alcohol and eat sweet desserts. This is not the way to lose weight! The more we put food into our body, the more we gain weight. The Bible says, “Therefore I (Jesus Christ) tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?” (Matthew 6:25) What then should be the priority in life, if not food and drink? It is the spiritual issue of seeking first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you. (Matthew 6:33) Until the turn of the 20th century, our ancestors walked daily without automobiles or our modern transportation systems. What can we learn from them that we can implement in our lives today to be healthier? Walking is one of the best ways to lose weight, along with less food consumption. Now, I feel much healthier: I have lost 30 pounds since I started the 100 Miles for Hope challenge a year ago. That is my reward, which I am proud of and has boosted my self-esteem. I challenge you to take my advice to do likewise. It is simple and helps you save money as well!