In the 80s I did low fat diets. In the 90s I tried the cabbage soup diet, counting calories, Sugar Busters diet, Atkins, and was a member of TOPS (Taking Off Pounds Sensibly). In the 2000s it was low carb, low glycemic index, paleo, and primal blueprint. In the 2010s I did keto, speed keto, intuitive eating, fasting, and I’m sure many more I am leaving out. You should see my stack of diet books.
In the 90s I did aerobics at a gym, Denise Austin DVDs with my Mom, and owned a Bowflex. Did some P90x in the 2000s and hired my first personal trainer in 2007. I had personal trainers for seven years. I did lots of walking on my lunch break at work. Oh yeah, there was a boxing gym I joined for awhile and lots of 5K’s. I remember the first time I ran an entire 5k, it was a good day.
But, here’s the thing, none of that stuff ever made me truly happy. None of that stuff fulfilled me. I was using personal strength. I was chasing a number on the scale, a muscle mass number, a way I looked in the mirror. I had it all wrong.
If I’m strong, it’s because that’s a gift from God. Not something I can achieve on my own or in my own power. Have we forgotten that he is in control of everything? He allows us to achieve goals, it’s not our power that does it.
I never wanted to “bother” God with my weight struggles, I know he’s out helping people with much bigger problems. I did pray often that he would help me lose weight, but I never truly gave him that control. I thought weight loss was a “mental toughness” or a “motivational thing” or all about “will-power.” I would beat myself up when I would eat “bad” and think that I was a horrible person with no “self-control”. Many, many years of self-hatred formed.
I finally got tired of that cycle. I refused to “diet” again and I went searching. It took about seven years of searching, education about the brain, certificates earned, and then I found it. Jesus was waiting all along, pushing me in the direction of Him, but He needed me to give all that other stuff up and give up control of my life.
Jesus wants control of our lives. He wants us to give everything to Him. He wants us to pray continuously through the day. He wants us to set aside time and sit and be still with Him. He wants us to read the Bible. When we read the Bible, we begin to hear Him speak to us. God created us and we are here on this earth for Him, not us. He needs us to acknowledge that.
Earlier this year I did just that. I gave Christ 100% control of my life. What does that look like? That means I sacrifice my hours of sleep to read my Bible. That means setting aside time to pray. That means praying about every little thing, no matter how small it may seem. One of my prayers in the morning is that Christ will direct my day. That I will do the things he wants me to do this day and not things I want to do. That He will give me just enough time to accomplish His will, not mine.
It’s hard, but it’s right. I am not perfect, and I mess up all the time. Our Lord, our Savior is a forgiving father. It just takes a prayer of “I’m sorry Lord. Help me do better.” Then the sun comes up and it is a new day. A new day to give it all to Him.
If you read this far, some of you may be asking, but what does getting healthy look like now? I have a completely different reason now for wanting to get and stay healthy. I want to be healthy, strong, and able to go and do the work God calls, when He calls, and be ready. I want to be healthy to live out whatever plans and purposes God has for me in the rest of this life I have here on earth.
So what do I do?
I pray. Lord, how do you want me to move my body to build my cardiovascular system, my muscular endurance and strength, and my flexibility? Every day looks different. Somedays I am lifting weights, some days drumstick/kickboxing workouts with RevWell TV, sometimes I’m just stretching and other days walking. (Don’t forget rest-that’s really important too.) I look for God’s guidance each day.
What about my eating? I pray. You should read my blog post on coffee. God and I are working out the details of my eating habits. (The way you should eat is unique to you because God created us each different. It’s a personal decision between you and God.)
I refuse to get on the scale because I will not chase numbers, but I feel my clothes getting baggy. My “weight” or my “gravitational pull” on this earth is not my decision. It belongs to God. Jesus having complete control means I have to trust Him on when or how I’ll lose “weight”, if that’s what He wants.
At meal time, I eat less because there's no void I am trying to fill in my life with food. I've quit "using" food to find my happiness.
In the evenings, my mind is at peace and I am not standing at the pantry doors looking for my NEXT snack. I don’t even think about food in the evenings.
My heart is fulfilled and at peace. Jesus loves us so much. He’s got so much love for each and every one of us. Just give Him the key to your heart and let Him in. Let Him truly in.