a healthier me

So…I’ve been keeping a small secret from you all. One that includes the rest of my life…not just the spiritual, important and heavy stuff I typically write. So…mind if I share that with you? Good.

Did you know that I also maintain another blog (granted, it hasn’t been updated since January of this year, but I digress)? I do. On my health journey – and it can be found here. I wanted to start cross-referencing this stuff and share my success with you in an effort to motivate or encourage you, no matter where you’re at. Here goes….

Change is beautiful.

I, for one, have never made a resolution in my entire life. I grew up in a home where they weren’t made and I remember thinking that people who did were strange. Why reach for some out-of-this-world resolution and set yourself up for failure from the get-go?

Example:
Day 1: Starting from nothing, I’m going to work out at least an hour every day and eat only veggies, fruits and lean meats.
Day 4: Oreos, where art thou? (I chose Oreos because they are one of my weakness…that and bacon).
And before you know it, you’ve caved and burned your way through a package of Oreos rather than torching 400 calories on the treadmill. Guilt sets in and you decide to throw in the towel, thinking, “Better luck next year.”

My mom and dad always made a list of goals, both large and small, as to what they wanted to accomplish in the next year and mapped out the progress one could make one step at a time. Success was usually the result. We, as a family, have learned over the years to become fans of taking it one day at a time. After all, I’m not guaranteed tomorrow. And that technique has branched over into my adulthood (I’m still learning).

A friend of mine once wrote on body image and how her thoughts/actions could affect her daughter’s self-esteem and I agree with her. Most women struggle with it in different ways, some more than others, and I’m not a stranger to the whole issue. 

I enjoyed playing as a child (prior to 1st grade), hated recess and gym class all through grade/high school, opted out of the wellness program while I was in college (oh how I wish I would have gone instead!), and started paying little attention to my health afterwards. Sure, my athletic ability was challenged in high school during the volleyball and softball seasons and when we had to run the mile for those presidential wellness tests…I truly loathed that day and yet, I made myself run that blasted mile anyway, whether it took me 12 minutes or 17, I dragged myself over that finish line.

I was scrawny when I was little, ballooned the summer after my fourth grade year, no thanks to a crash course in junk food (i.e. Little Debbie’s, chips, pop and Twinkies…my stomach turns now just thinking of that), survived a disease-riddled “crash diet” when I was 12, rushed through puberty and packed on the Freshman 15 (and then some) when I went off to college and moved away from home.

Two and a half years ago marked a change in my life. A photo taken at a Christmas party sparked outrage at myself for letting myself go. We are each our own worst critic, right? Yep. December of 2010 (I could not wait until January 1st to make aforementioned resolution) marked a change for me and it’s one that I’m proud to say has become a lifestyle change for the better.

I started eating better, choosing fruits, veggies and proteins over bags of chips and soda.  I gave up soda completely prior to that horrid Christmas photo and I’m proud to say that as of this past March, it has been three years since I’ve had soda/pop of any kind and my body thanks me for it (as do my teeth). I haven’t had chips in forever (seems like it at least) and fruits are usually my go-to desserts when I’m dealing with my sweet tooth. I also started going to the gym more, doing what I had learned by watching videos on YouTube or any reading material I could get my hands on.

It wasn’t until my move to Minneapolis in 2011 though that I really started noticing a change. I went from driving to and from work to walking everywhere, putting in anywhere from 10,000 to 17,000 steps a day. I joined an excellent gym downtown (2013 makes this two years and going strong) and my calendar marks more days spent at the gym than any year prior. I started taking yoga classes. I now have a couple of personal trainers who encourage and motivate me week in and week out. I do Pilates. I’ve gone through five pairs of sneakers.

I prefer mornings, but both the location of my gym and my work schedule keep me going in the afternoons, with the exception of the weekends, and I’ve learned to love it. I’ve learned to love my body and who I am at every changing step along the way.

My core is stronger that it’s ever been. I’m fitter than I’ve ever been. And now that I’m looking back on where I’ve come from, I personally think that gym class teachers have it wrong. One doesn’t just take any kid and tell them to run a mile without building up their endurance first. My running today is better than it was when I was in grade school and I can easily make it in under 9 minutes now.  

In the last two years, I’ve dropped just over 40 lbs, have gained muscle and am more toned in places I never thought I would be. I’ve also lost nearly 60 inches over my entire body and am learning to love what I see in the mirror with each passing day. God, in His goodness, created me and He sees me as beautiful; He deems me as good (Genesis 1.27-31). How is beyond what my finite mind can fathom. I simply trust that He does. That, my friends, is motivation for this entire movement.

It’s not easy. It takes work, dedication and strength to ignore the voices that tend to drag me back. It takes determination. It takes discernment in knowing who you can share your success with and who you can’t. There are a few who will see it as a negative habit and will feel obligated to tell you so and there are those who don’t; those who will share in your successes and encourage you to continue onward.

I’m not sharing this information to make you feel bad. I’m sharing it to motivate you, to offer support and encouragement, and so you, my friends, can share in my success. It’s motivating and encouraging to hear success stories – it promotes the thought: if he/she can do it, I can too.

The remainder of 2013 stretches before me with goals I’d like to reach in all aspects of my life: physically, mentally, emotionally, financially and spiritually. I’m focusing on maintaining my healthy lifestyle and living beyond the number on the scale, building deep relationships and maintaining them, blogging and writing more, finding my security and identity in Christ, spending more time in the Word and prayer, learning to live on a budget and getting out of my comfort zone. So far, all of these have either happened or are happening.

What are your goals for the remainder of this year? What is your motivation; what keeps you going?

I pray that God will carry you through if those goals and plans fall into His will. Be blessed! Be you! Be-YOU-tiful!

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Isaiah 41:10

And remember, no matter how fast you’re going, you’re still lapping everyone who is still lounging on the couch.

Until next time…

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