Sunday, November 23, 2014

My Journey: Food, Fitness, and Faith



"Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit."-(3 John 1:2)


(Editor's note:  Today's post comes from my friend Michelle.)

Weight loss has always been a struggle for me.  I would dive in each Monday, give it all I had, only to have my will-power fail me. I'd feel terrible about myself, ashamed and embarrassed that I couldn’t stick with it, and the cycle would begin again.

A year and a half ago, something changed.  I started to learn about clean eating and found myself worrying less about losing weight. I was eating whole foods to fuel my body, my taste buds changed and I started to crave the healthy foods.  I ate more fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats.   I cut out added sugar, artificial sweeteners and flavors, as well as processed foods full of chemicals. If I didn’t recognize an ingredient . . . I didn’t eat it!  I started planning my meals and snacks in advance so that I didn’t make bad food choices when the day didn’t go as planned.  Writing down everything that I ate helped me to be more aware of what and how much I was eating.

A month after changing my nutrition, I started a new at-home fitness program.  I had joined gyms, started running programs and bought tons of fitness DVDs in the past, but didn’t stick with them.  This time was different. I had an online group that I had to check in with that was full of ladies grounded in their faith.  We were there to encourage each other and hold one another accountable.  I was so proud of myself as I finished Day 60 of the program.  I was in better shape than I’d been in a long time and had grown to love exercise.  I continued my daily workouts because I loved them and loved how I felt as a result. I continue to do daily workouts at home as my twin girls sit watching and my son frequently jumps in and joins me. 

This health and fitness journey has centered in reliance on God and His strength, doing it for a much bigger reason than changing the number on the scale or what size jeans I am wearing.  This was as much a journey of faith as it was fitness or nutrition.  I began seeking the Lord to help break my old habits of emotional eating.  I started paying attention to why I turned to food and turned that desire for comfort into a prayer for guidance and surrender.  As I have sought the Lord in this, I have become much more interested in treating my body as a temple and desire to honor God in my choices. I want to take care of my family by setting a good example, and making better decisions that help us to avoid illnesses and medical issues that could be controlled or eliminated by healthier choices.

As my mind-shift changed, and I sought the Lord, my health became more of a priority than how I looked, but did result in a physical transformation.  My new outlook and beliefs are no longer all or none, focused on MY will-power, or driven by the number on the scale.  I still enjoy occasional treats, but eat mostly whole foods.

If your story is anything like mine, I’d encourage you with these tips –

  • Pray!  Ask God to show you where to start and more importantly seek Him for your “why”.  Why do you want to get healthy? What is getting in your way?
  • Start looking at nutrition labels and ingredient lists.  Every good choice matters.  This is not an all or none way of life.
  • Find something you enjoy doing for exercise.  Do you like dancing, boot camp, walking, running, lifting weights, kickboxing, or something else?  You won’t stick with it if you don’t enjoy it.
  • Connect with others who can encourage you and hold you accountable.  Share your goals and successes with them.  We are so much more successful in community.

I pray that through small changes and refocusing on the Lord and the life and body He has gifted you with, you will also start to experience a physical, emotional and spiritual transformation.

In health and in Him,
Michelle

Michelle Hight lives in Oklahoma with her husband, 3 year old son, and 7 month old twin girls. She is a stay at home mom and fitness coach still on her journey to daily grow more physically and spiritually fit. Michelle can be found online at FB.com/coachmichellehight or on Instagram @michelle_hight.

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