I haven't posted on this blog in over a year and a half. I had considered starting a new blog to chronicle my journey of getting fit and healthy. However, I realized that this falls under the purpose of this blog. You see, this is not just a physical journey for me, but a spiritual journey. I believe Jesus wants to be Victor in every area of our lives, even in the area of fitness and health.
This is a hard thing for me to write/talk about. It is embarrassing and uncomfortable for me to discuss my weight. But, I am hoping that by being open and honest about my struggles, it might encourage someone else. I also believe that writing about it publicly will help hold me accountable.
I grew up in a fit and healthy family. My uncle is a cross-country coach and an amazing runner himself. My aunt competed in the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii on her honeymoon. My cousins are amazing swimmers. Another of my uncles works in a bike shop. There are lots of athletes in my family. I started running when I was just a little girl. In middle school, I started running track on a team. In high-school and college, I ran track and cross-country. I loved running.
I continued the drinking, partying lifestyle. I ate junk-food all the time and ate it late at night too. Alcohol has a lot of calories in it, so I didn't realize just how many calories I was consuming. I was no longer in school and was not running anymore. I gained a few more pounds. I was depressed with how much I had fallen away from the Lord. I felt like I lost all control of every aspect of my life. I was disappointed and disgusted with myself. After being a runner, I was so distraught with the weight I had gained.
Then, I got pregnant with Lily. In the future when I get pregnant, I want to be a healthy weight to begin with. When I got pregnant with her, I was the weight I should have been towards the end of pregnancy. And of course, pregnancy is not a healthy time to lose weight. So the number on the scale just kept going up. I ate too much while I was pregnant. I guess you could say I convinced myself that because I was pregnant, I could eat what I wanted and when I wanted it. I gave into my cravings. Pregnancy was my excuse. I gained too much weight. Well, I gained about the amount I should during pregnancy, but as I said, since I was already overweight, I ended up weighing more than I ever thought I would at full-term.
For the past 4 years since I gave birth, my weight and health has been a struggle for me. In early 2011, I ended up losing quite a bit of weight, but gained it back. I lost the weight too rapidly. I lost it in two months by eating much less than I had been and by working out obsessively. That's what it was - I was too obsessed with losing weight. It wasn't really about getting healthy at that time, but how I looked. I ended up hurting my back, which stopped my working out completely. I had to go to the chiropractor and physical therapist for months.
Because I wasn't working out, I felt discouraged and started eating badly again. Working out and eating healthy seem to go hand-in-hand for me. Over some time, I gained weight back without really even noticing it. That is the thing about weight - if you aren't committed to eating right and working out and you aren't paying attention to your weight, it is honestly quite easy to gain without noticing.
I have wanted so badly to get fit and healthy, but honestly have felt powerless to change. I have battled with depression over losing my daughter. I have struggled with grieving many things about my past and the choices I have made. I have felt a complete lack of confidence and control.
The Lord has been revealing many things to my heart about fitness and health. I have had a skewed picture of what it is. In this culture, it seems that many people are either completely negligent of their health, or completely obsessed with it. I want to find that healthy balance.
The Lord has shown me that we are made to crave... God, not food (check out Made to Crave by Lysa TerKeurst). But for too long, I have tried to fill myself with food. He is the only One who can satisfy our every longing. No amount of food, alcohol, sex, money, or anything else can give us what we desire. When I realized that I had been trying to fill those empty and broken pieces of my heart with food, rather than Jesus, it started making sense. But, I still felt powerless to change.
I have had a lot of health struggles. For one thing, I am a bit of a hypochondriac, which the Lord is working on in me. But, I truly do have a lot of weird symptoms all the time. I feel so blah and sick. I got mono a couple years ago, which really messed with my health for a long time. I have been to many doctors for all my health concerns and all my tests come back normal. I have wondered if I am dreaming up my symptoms, which I know I am not, because I remember life before feeling this way all the time. I have felt hardly any energy and just plain ill.
The Lord has shown me He doesn't want me to just accept this. He has shown me that I need to make health and wellness a priority in my life, not because of the way I look primarily. But because He wants me to be strong, healthy, and fit to serve Him and to build up His Kingdom. If I am weak and sick all the time, how will I have any energy to fight for Him?! I won't.
My focus has shifted from my weight and health from being about me to being about HIM. It might seem like this is only a temporal matter, but is is actually an eternal matter as well. As a Christian, I believe God is calling me to be disciplined and self-controlled in every area of my life.
Everything about our lives is connected - the physical, spiritual, and mental parts of us. Being broken in one area can affect every other area. I have struggled in many areas over the last few years. The grief and loss I have lived with has negatively affected my health in many ways. It went downhill when I was dealing with the loss of both Lily and her father. Emotional trauma can wreak havoc on health. I have discovered this first-hand.
But, I say NO MORE! Jesus is Victor, and I am trusting and believing that to be true, even when I don't see or feel it. I will not settle for depression and defeat, but will trust that Jesus will give me what I need to overcome what has kept me down for so long. I count it as a blessing that I have struggled with health issues. Perhaps if I hadn't, I wouldn't feel the desire and urgency to change.
Over the last couple months, God has given me a supernatural strength and grace. He has given me the desire to get fit and healthy. He has given me the motivation to pursue a healthier lifestyle. He is taking me on a journey of healing my heart and my body. He is making me strong so that I may be poured out for His glory.
Last week, I watched a documentary called, "Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead." It is so informative and inspiring. (You can watch it online for free by clicking HERE). The very next day after I watched it, I ordered a juicer for myself.
So that is where I am now. Over the last several weeks, I have been eating healthier and less. The Lord is changing me to see food the way He intends it to be. I have been working out most every day. But, this time is different. This is a permanent change in my heart and life. I am not obsessive about it, but making it a true lifestyle change. I work out about 30 minutes of cardio 5 days a week, not overdoing it because I don't want to injure myself. I also do moderate weight-lifting.
My juicer came in the mail a couple days ago. I made my first juice ever last night. It was delicious. :) This is a new way of life for me. I have been so bad about not eating enough fruits and vegetables. Juicing is an excellent way to get your fruits and veggies. Seriously, you should watch the documentary and research juicing yourself.
Since I have been exercising and eating better, I have lost 20 pounds! The pictures below show before losing weight and right now (the photo on right on top was taken today and the one on the right on bottom was taken three days ago on Easter Sunday). I am about half-way to my goal weight. It is amazing how much of a difference 20 pounds makes! My face has changed a lot.
Struggling with weight has given me a more compassionate heart for others. I used to look at overweight people and think they were lazy and undisciplined. The thing is, you never know what someone has gone through to get them where they are. Don't judge what you do not understand.
There is much more I could say, but I wanted to share an introductory post. I will be sharing about my juicing/weight loss/heart and body mending journey. I pray that you will trust that Jesus can be victorious in every area of your life as well. He is enough, my friends, He is enough.