October 1, 2016

Year 1: Getting Fit from Within

My hope is that as you read this very personal post that you don't judge or take my words out of context. Know that I am a firm believer, and that I know as a child of God I am perfect in His site. Only my relationship with Him and my actions define me. Having said that, I am a female with a high estrogen level that felt my increasing weight and the lack of accountability for my health was preventing me from being the best me that I can be.

It's been one year since deciding that I was fed up with being out of shape. I was tired of starting and stopping when it came to trying to be healthy. It was an emotional roller coaster. I was at the age when many women realize they are no longer considered young, life events get real (I now understand some memories of that show my mom watched in the 90s called 30 Something), and the realization sets in that we only have one body and it will not take care of itself. That's where I was, so I joined a fitness accountability Challenge Group and prayed for the ability to make lasting changes.
I had no idea how much this Day 1 sweaty selfie in my first Challenge Group would mean to me 1 Year later!
For the most part, I have done decent job of not letting my body define me. That doesn't mean there haven't been moments of feeling defeated, awkward, or down right grouchy about it. The lower half of my body has never matched the top half. I used to dread looking in full-length mirrors.  Even asked people to take my picture from the waist up....If they didn't, I usually cropped the picture. The size of my lower body made me feel insecure. Aside from my emotions, the extra, fatty weight on my smaller frame was beginning to take a physical toll. I had little to no muscle in my hips and legs. I was mushy. I felt sluggish and achy. These were some of the things preventing me from being the best me that I can be.

When I joined my first Challenge Group in September 2015, I wanted to change my body and mindset. I didn't have a goal weight. I had three overarching goals: 1) Learn how to include faith in my health, 2) Create long term, healthy habits for my family, and 3) Address the disproportioned lower half of my body.

Within the first month of starting this journey, I realized my physical, mental, and spiritual states are connected. When I read Lysa Tyrkeurt's words about this in her book, Made to Crave, I thought "YES! Yes, Jesus I needed this!" I needed to connect my spiritual well-being to my physical well-being before I could make those lasting changes. This made me work even harder and realize WHY I wanted to be healthy. Yes, it was partly to address specific areas of my body but mostly to respect this body God gave me, have peace with my body, and do all that I can to be in the best state of mind, body, and spirit to better care for my husband, son, and loved ones. If we don't care for ourselves, how can we give our best care for others?
Before including faith as a part of my desire to be physically in shape, I never thought it was possible to change my body and be content. I remember thinking, "oh well, you just have to deal with it. This is how you were made." But see, here's the problem with that thought - I was a victim of my own excuses and inhibitions. I made that up. I told myself it was impossible to shave off those saddle bags (gracious - their name is as terrible as they made me feel!). Because of all my failed attempts of riding the emotional roller coaster of starting and stopping, I told myself it was impossible. Well, that was a lie that I told myself for too long.
Going back to those three open-ended goals I set in September 2015 - Nailing them so far! *smile*
For the first time, I have more peace about my physical state than ever. Of course, I'm a work in progress, but that's where my spiritual and mental state take over and guide my choices, motivation, and commitment.

Yes, losing 16 pounds and 20 inches in one year is an awesome feeling and accomplishment. I would only be telling part of the story if I didn't share that honesty with you. But guess what...It pales in comparison to all that I gained!
The real celebration of this year is about growing in my faith and the intangibles:

  • Respect and gratitude for my body
  • A voice to share my faith
  • Respect from my husband, because I didn't quit
  • Confidence in my ability to achieve personal goals
  • Dear, precious, golden, and new friends
  • A desire to support other women committed to fit from within
  • Strength, physical and emotional
  • Increased knowledge about eating healthy
  • New clothes that make me feel comfortable

  • So, how did it finally find a way to make it work and keep pushing instead of another failed attempt?

  • I sought God's truths relating to health, trials, and His desires my life. 
  • Surrounded myself with other women seeking those same things.
  • Relied on God's strength when I was weak.
  • Decided that I controlled food choices for my family instead of letting food control me. 
  • Stayed up late some nights meal prepping to avoid drive thru food after long days at work.
  • Woke up most mornings before my Guys to pray about it and work for it through exercise.
  • Stopped making excuses and telling myself only other people can do it.
  • Held myself accountable for my choices.

  • And lastly, why do I share all of this - the words, the honesty, and the pictures? Two reasons - 1) give God the glory for my health and 2) encourage other women that feel defeated, insecure, and those who want to be at peace with their mind, body, and soul. I pray these words resonate with the women that need it most. For women that felt hopeless like I did, know that it is possible to find your peace. I intentionally waited to publicly share my starting point/before picture. I believe this is the right time. Not because of where I am currently physically, but mentally and spiritually.
    I want to remember this past year as Year 1, because my WHY remains the same.
    We can't get healthy and stop working for it. You/I must press on. I hope you continue on this journey with me, and we walk alongside one another in Year 2!

    Dear Lord, please let this message reach the women that need it. Let her realize that you are the only true source of peace, even with her body. Give her the courage to invite you to be at the center of her health. Thank you for the promise to love each of us for who we are. Help us live an abundant life full of joy through you. Amen.

    Fit from Within,

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