3 Reasons To Do What Absolutely Scares You


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When was the last time you wanted to do something but truthfully, it scared you to bits?

Let me tell you a little bit from my side of this story.

I confess I am not the best person to talk about doing new things. My family and friends tease me about how much I resist change. One might even say I am “a stick in the mud.” I like things to stay the same. The same is comfortable and cozy.

But, the same is just that…the same.

I know that very well. It dwells there in my mind all the time and yet I resist with all my might.

Recently, I have been growing bored in my workouts. Running and weight lifting just haven’t been holding my interest. I can’t really explain why except maybe I just need a change. But, what? What exactly could I do to keep up the level of movement that I so desperately desire? I live in a big city now and of course, that means tons of options. I have looked and considered and come to find out that what I needed the most has been right there in front of me.

Guess what my local gym has? An indoor lap pool.

I do know how to swim. I can stay afloat in the water and not drown. I took swimming lessons as a kid but I never progressed to learning the most recognized strokes. For that reason I have always lacked confidence in swimming. Combine that with a 20+ year history of avoiding swimsuits due to my poor body image and you have an anxiety-laden activity.

Here’s the funny thing. Over the last few months I have been known to stare at the pool as I was walking up to the weight room. Something in me pulled me towards that pool. I was enticed and yet repelled.

Being serious about swimming meant facing a whole lot of demons and doing something that scares the bits out of me.

Fast forward and I am happy to say that I am in that pool several times a week complete with a nice swimsuit, swim cap, and goggles. I am slowly but surely facing those demons and doing what scares me.

What about you? When WAS the last time you did something that scares you? Has it been awhile?

Well, here are three reasons to do what absolutely scares you in case you need a little push.

1. Humility 

Learning to swim properly has been a big ‘ole slice of humble pie served up warm and  a la mode. I have had to go all the way back to the start. I am spending all my swimming workouts doing various drills just so I can relearn how to be comfortable in the water again, how to breathe properly, and how to glide through the water without sinking like an anvil. It is tough because there are days that I get so bored doing these drills over and over again. I look one lane over at the kid half my age or some other adult gliding seamlessly through the water and doing flip turns over and over again all the while I am in my lane focusing on floating on my back, not sinking or inhaling water. Often I get frustrated because I so want to be that fish-like, flip-turning swimmer. I want the confidence in the water that I have in the weight room or the road. But, I know that I can’t get there by skipping crucial steps. Did I walk into the weight room and dead-lift 225 for reps my first day? HA HA! Not even close. On my first day I was holding onto my husband’s arm as we slowly made our way from one machine to the next. I was scared then too.  And then slowly over time, and on a constant diet of humble pie, I WAS able to walk in there like a boss and dead-lift 225 for reps. It took being willing to admit that I really don’t know anything about this stuff. It meant being coachable and taking it one step at a time.

Being humble means admitting that you need help.

Being humble means saying, “Hey! I know nothing but I want to learn. Could you help me?”

Being humble means being willing to be molded in the fire and to come out the other end stronger.

I am still working on those drills several times a week. I have a goal in mind of doing an open water swim. I don’t know how long it will take. I will do these drills for however long I have to to build the foundation I need. It will happen. I just have to be humble and patient.

 

2. Bust Out of Your Comfort Zone

Quite honestly, staying in your comfort zone is rather boring. Don’t you think so too?

But your comfort zone is comfy and cozy. It is safe and cloistered. The sad thing is that personal development does not happen in the comfort zone. It can’t. Like I said above you have to be humble enough to admit you need to molded into something new but for that happen you have to actually go to the fire or wheel for that molding to occur. You have to admit your need for help and then step out of your comfort zone to make that happen.

I will be honest and say that swimming scares me. I am not so much scared of the water but I am scared of doing something that requires so much humility. And then throw in the crazy notion of swimming in a big body of water where I can’t touch the bottom. It scares me. But, I KNOW I will be a completely different person when I finally achieve that goal. I will have been humble and been willing to be forged that fire. It will be awesome.

3. Growth, Empowerment, and Confidence

WOW!  Think about how you will feel when you have achieved that thing that scared you for so long. Take a moment and think about it nice and long.

When I think about how I will feel when I have swam well in that pool and ultimately, in that open water I see myself feeling ten feet tall and bulletproof. I will stand tall. I will be confident and empowered. I did what I thought was impossible. Those demons did not hold me back. I stared them in the face and I got ‘er done.

You achieved something awesome! Now take that growth, empowerment, and confidence to do something even bigger. Don’t waste all the good that comes from facing a fear and coming out on the other end.  Seriously, we can change lives when we don’t squander all that goodness.

You’ve heard about my journey to learn how to swim. Now, I want to hear about what YOU are going to do that scares you now. SOUND OFF in the comments. 🙂

 

BLESSINGS!!

 

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3 Reasons To Do What Absolutely Scares You

I AM Enough


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This is taken straight out of my journal/writing notebook. It is honest and not cleaned up. I felt compelled to share.

There are days when I look in the mirror and sigh. I see that frumpy and dumpy homeschooling housewife. I think of all the things I have not accomplished.

  • Am I thin yet?
  • Have I run that marathon?
  • Wrote that book?
  • Had more children?
  • Made more money?
  • Prepared those perfectly healthy meals?
  • Kept a perfectly tidy house?
  • Read all those books?

The answer to all these questions is a resounding NO.

I take a deep breath as I stare in the mirror and then I feel an arm come around my waist and I hear a sweet whisper of “I Love You.” I enjoy the moment. I give in. I then hear in my soul, “You ARE Enough!” It is then that I know that yes, I AM enough.  There is a lot I have not accomplished, but there is so much more that I have — things of eternal value.  I look away and I see my only son giggling as he reads his favorite books. I hear, “Hey Mom! Listen to this!!” We laugh together on the couch.

Then we gather at the table for dinner. They two loves of my life are eating and laughing. Even the dog is content as she rolls around on the carpet. We are happy. We are content.

At bedtime I can’t help but smile big as I walk by my son’s room and I see him and his Dad reading Scripture together. They both look up and smile.

After a little TV time with my Sweetheart, I slip into my boy’s room and I kiss his sleeping head — like I have every night since he was born–almost nine years now. I whisper, “I Love You.”  In that place between reality and dreams, he quietly says “I love you too. You are the best Mom EVER.”

My soul smiles as I go to bed. I take off my glasses and slip into bed. As I feel strong arms come around my waist again and we fall asleep in unison, I know. I am not perfect. But, I AM enough.

I sleep well.

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I AM Enough

From Perfectionism to Grace


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Believe it or not I have a streak of perfectionism in my personality. I never really thought that I have perfectionist tendencies. I mean I am not a top knotch housekeeper for one thing. I keep a tidy and clean house but I don’t fret too much about it being perfect. I don’t overly fret over germs either. I keep my hands and body clean but I don’t freak out about every exposure to germs. I always say, “Oh well. Chalk it up to immune system boosting.” I don’t always finish books nor do I keep perfect records. When things don’t go as planned I usually shrug my shoulders and move on. Life happens. Ride with it.

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But, I in recent weeks I have come to realize where I am very much perfectionist and honestly, it can be down right crippling. I set very high standards for myself. In the past, when I adopted a new diet plan I expected myself to follow it perfectly and when I didn’t I was an absolute failure and not worthy of a better, thinner life. When I found or bought a new exercise plan and I didn’t finish every workout as written on the prescribed days I was in no way an athlete and I might as well be a slug on the couch.

Over and over and over again I have gotten an awesome idea and dove right in with a reckless abandon. There would be so much passion for my direction that anyone could smell it. I would live and breathe my new thing. But, then slowly over time the passion would wane and fall apart. Life would happen and get in the way and my attention would go to different things. I would justify the change in plans by saying that the first thing just wasn’t for me and I just haven’t found that perfect thing for me. IN reality, I would be telling myself that I just couldn’t finish any project and I was a failure and not deserving of anything good.

That self-talk is a booger, isn’t it? I have no doubt much of these negative thoughts have to do with my bouts with depression but they also come from my perfectionist tendencies. I expect to do any plan, challenge, or project to completion, perfectly, and as planned. Because of these impossible standards I place on myself I fall apart most of the time. I am my own worst enemy.

For example, a little over a month ago I started what I was calling the “1K Words for 100 days Challenge” and for exactly twenty-six days I had not one break in my streak of writing one thousand words every weekday as per my challenge. Then some life events happened and I missed a day here and a day there. Rather quickly I lost all interest in writing not because I didn’t have things to say but because I honestly thought I couldn’t be a writer because I couldn’t manage to write a thousand words every week day. How crazy is that thought process? See, the perfectionism coming in?

Over the last year or so I have learned more about grace and how it is A-okay for things to not happen exactly as planned. But, what makes it different is how I face it. Do I turn inward and say, “Sarah, you are a total and complete failure. Why don’t you just go curl up in bed and do nothing because you are capable of nothing” or do I say, “Sarah, this didn’t work. That’s okay. Why? What can we do differently?” This especially goes with how I eat. Is it practical at all to expect myself to eat a certain way all the time for the rest of my life or even for a few months? That is why I have ‘failed’ at so many diet plans. I left no margin for error or for living for that matter.

Now that I accept grace in my life I do indeed eat the way I want most of the time because I allow room for treats and unexpected events. Now that I don’t try to follow a workout plan perfectly I can allow room for random trips to the pool to swim laps just because I feel like swimming or trips outside to workout because it just feels so good out there. Because of this margin of grace I find that I can stick to my workout plans 110% better. And while I do believe that challenging yourself in order to build a new habit is a good thing like I did with the ‘1K Words for 100 days” I don’t think it is a good thing to self-sabatage yourself by expecting perfection and not allowing any margin for error. Not so ironically, with a little bit of grace in my writing schedule I want to write more and I am not paralyzed by my perfectionism and I believe I write better because I am not just writing words for the sake of writing words. There is purpose and there is depth. That being said I am still attempting to write one thousand words every week day. But, if life happens it happens and I hit the reset button and start again the next day.

When I was more in the perfectionist frame of mind (and I still revert back a lot) I was crippled and paralyzed by everything being just right and because of that I did not let my creative juices flow. I did not allow myself to grow and spread my wings. I was stuck on the ground because I had to stay put in what I expected to be just right. I could not allow myself to dream or to pursue those dreams. I was stunted and stuck.

Now that I have given up on perfectionism and have embraced grace I find that I am so much more productive and achieving goals is so much easier. I am not paralyzed anymore but free to make mistakes, learn from them, and move on. I am free to eat what I want, move how I want, and write what I want. I am not held back by this thing called perfectionism. I am free because of grace and the beauty of not being perfect. I am a beautiful mess. I am writing my own story complete with the victories and failures.

What about you? How do you deal with perfectionism?

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From Perfectionism to Grace

To the Pit and Back…

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I feel like I need to break my silence and confess some things. I am human. Yeah, I know, all fitness pages have their “I am Human” posts talking about this, that, or the other. Yes, we are human. We all have our faults and our failures. We all have our sides we really don’t want to confess to each other because it could change our ‘image.’ But, we do confess them because, in a way, it helps build our image even better. We all do it. I guess I could make this post something like that but that seems almost fake to me. I don’t want to confess my failures to you as a way to make me look better in your mind so that my popularity goes up. I also don’t want to put myself down for no good reason. That’s not healthy either.

Here’s the thing. I need to write this so I can claim it for what it is so I can move forward. By writing I give a name to what’s been going on in my life the last few months and I can move forward. This blog has been suffering for a number of months. I haven’t written for way too long and I have had my excuses for it. “I’m going to focus on my Facebook page. I don’t have anything good to write. No one reads it anyway. Why even try?” So, my blog suffers a slow and horrible death.

I have seen a similar progression with my Facebook page. My desire to keep it going is going down slowly. My love for it is dwindling and the quality of posts is suffering for it.

I have become apathetic. I do what I do because I love it but there is not a burning passion that was once there. There was a time when I couldn’t keep my fingers from typing out all kinds of writing. I had so much to say and I just couldn’t keep it in any longer. What happened to those fingers??

I’ll tell you. And I didn’t really put a name to it until recently. It took me a long time to realize what was happening. But, now that I know I can take the steps to make it better.

The Big ‘D’ word crept into my life again. DEPRESSION. Have you read my post called “How Fitness Saved Me” ? In that article I wrote about how fitness and nutrition in many ways saved me from a deep dark pit of depression. I really don’t want to think about where I would be if God had not directed my steps to this lifestyle. It is a rather scary thought, actually.

I have learned over the years that depression is my barometer. It is how I can see if I am doing what I should be doing or not. If I am not spending time in Scripture and in prayer like I should I will start the journey into the pit of depression. It happens in such a way that I don’t see or feel it happening until it is often too late and way too much time is wasted. But, Thank the Good Lord that there is hope and a way out.

Let me explain this progression for you. It is slow and it is ugly and it is wicked. They always say that hindsight is 20/20 and looking back it is so crystal clear how this happens.

Here is how it goes….

Life is good and I’m floating through. I am happy. I am excited about life. I am busy. I am fulfilled. I spend time in the Word and in prayer.

Life continues on at a good pace and I continue to be happy. What could go wrong? Everything is falling into place and if it really isn’t I have good perspective and it will still be okay. There is seemingly no need to for extra prayer and Bible time because, well, isn’t that what people in desperate need do? * cough cough * I can just ponder Scripture and pray as I go along in my day. I’ve got things to do.

Time spent in the Word and Prayer gets lower and lower priority in my day. This happens without me even noticing. It is slow and unassuming. A few minutes here and a few minutes there. My tools are falling by the wayside.

Pretty soon, I am not spending any time in the Word. But, I don’t take note of it. I just fill that time with something else. It is a rather covert operation.

Ever so slowly, my perspective on life gets a shade here and a shade there darker. It doesn’t go from rainbows and unicorns to storm clouds and disasters over night. Oh no. It takes weeks. It may be slow but it is steady.

My thoughts become darker and darker. Why? Because I have not been filling my mind with Good. The good that was left over is slowly pushed out by the dark. I have eliminated my armour and weapons and there is no fighting the invasion.

At first, as the dark thoughts creep in I can shake them off and send them packing. Then, over time, they take a foot hold. They stay. I allow myself to spend more time there. I allow myself to think about what a waste of oxygen I am. I mourn because I know God loves me but he loves me differently than his Chosen people. I am the Red Headed Step-Child. Other people have victory because God loves them more. Other people experience miracles because God thinks they deserve it more.

I come to resent God. And I hear the cackles of laughter in the background but I pay no attention to them.

Do you hear the lies of Depression? These have been my thoughts over the last few weeks/months.

This happens so very slowly that I don’t see it coming. It is like the frog in the pot of water. The water is warmed so very slowly that the frog doesn’t know he is slowly being boiled to death. My habits and eventually my thoughts change so very slowly that I don’t see it coming.

I have no desire to write. I have no desire to learn more about my career. I have no desire to exercise. I have no desire to eat right. I lost progress and a lot of my hard work from the gym and eating right. I should have taken note when my desire to workout was dwindling. That is a huge indication for me. By this point, though, I was blinded. Amazingly, I continued to run during this time and I believe that kept me from going even deeper.

I then get so deep that I feel like there is no way out whatsoever. What’s the point? Why am I even here? No one cares about me. If I were to die today would anyone even notice I was gone? Would they mourn me? God doesn’t even care about me. This hurts so much. So, why don’t I just….. (fill in the blank)?

Whoo!

Then by the Grace of God I get a huge slap in the face. I get a big shake and a “Snap out of it, Sarah!!! I am here! There is HOPE! You are depressed. You know what this is. It is all lies. YOU have a bigger purpose than this.”

When I can wipe the junk off my eyes and I can see clearly what has happened ever so slowly over the weeks and months I can take the steps I know will pull me out of that pit. I have been here before and I have learned what works for me.

I have committed to Scripture Memory.

I have committed to a new Workout Program and Nutrition plan.

I have committed to continue writing even when I don’t know what to write. It will come as the fog lifts. Rock on Blog!

I have committed to being more honest about my thoughts as they creep in ever so slowly so that when I don’t have the tools readily available someone else can help fight for me and share their tools.

I have committed to being vulnerable more when in the proper context. Boundaries are essential here.

I have hope, again. Will I pop out of this season like it never happened? Not in the slightest. I have healing to do. God never left me. I left Him. So many lies have crept in and I need to call them all out one at a time until they are gone. This will take time. But, there will be more and more victory as the days go by.

Will I ever learn how to prevent this from happening again? I don’t know. It seems to be happening less and less the more I learn. It seems that each time I shake out of it I am able to set up better and stronger barricades around my mind and heart. It takes longer to fall again. Amazingly, I am also thankful for these times because I come to understand myself more and I know I can be empathetic with other people.

It is a gift in many ways and I thank God for that. I have heard it said that our trials are our testimony.  This is my trial and this is my testimony.

Just remember that when someone wears a smile, appears put together, and seems like life has given them the upper hand, there could be a much darker side to it all. I did not tell anyone what I was feeling . I wore my smile and held my head up high. Then I would go home and cry in despair. You often don’t know the whole story.

Maybe this will explain to my workout buddies and other friends why I am so obsessed with strength training and running. I am honestly afraid to think where I would be if exercising were not option. These things, especially running, keeps me more level even when I feel terribly unlevel.

After all that is said I am thrilled to say that I am happy again and I have hope. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.  Why?  Because I matter.

Note: This is MY story. Everyone deals with depression differently and need to take different paths to get help.
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To the Pit and Back…

The Demons of Body Image



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This past week I came to a realization. For a personal trainer who has a blog and a Facebook page I sure don’t take many pictures of myself.

Why is that?

I pondered and I pondered. I prayed. I did some soul-searching and I realized something I never really considered before now.

I write and talk quite a bit about body image and how we should love ourselves as the awesome creations that we are. God LOVES us just the way we are and so should we. Yes, we are on a journey for better health but that is no reason why we should not love the body God gave us.

Well, I have a harsh confession. This is hard for me to say.

I did not believe that for myself. *sigh* In the deepest part of my heart I did not believe the very words I was saying to you for myself.

For some awful reason, I thought that I was an exception to the rule. I thought I could look a woman in the eyes and tell her that she is beautiful just the way she is because GOD created her but I was different. My body was NOT worthy of praise. I was broken and not worth mentioning.

This is not easy for me to write. Part of me is afraid that everyone will run away, calling me a fraud. But, then I think, How can you trust me if I am not honest with you?

So, this is me being totally open, honest, and raw with you. I battle body image demons just like so many women. It is a rough road to travel. I know. I get it.

I now know why I have been fighting so hard for women to love themselves as God’s creation for so long. I was fighting against my own inclinations. I was speaking to myself without even knowing it.

So, after all these realizations I went to the gym last Friday. I decided to do a little Self-Love. I totally stepped out of my comfort zone and I took pictures of myself. I entered the world of “selfies.” HA HA!!

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This collage of pictures was taken on April 5, 2014. Let me share my BEFORE picture from April 22, 2011.

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I am so thankful for my husband who forced me to take this BEFORE picture when I made the decision to actually change my future by starting my fitness journey. If he gave in to my protests that I can’t stand the idea of having him take my picture like this, I wouldn’t have a BEFORE picture to share.

When I look at these pictures side by side I am amazed. I have come so far. I have battled countless demons on this journey.

When I look at my current pictures I still see my flaws. 😦 I still shudder a bit when thinking about sharing my pictures because they are not “perfect.”

But, I proclaim right here and right now that I will FIGHT this battle. I will accept this body for the awesomeness that it is. WHY? Because God MADE me awesome.

I look at those pictures and I also see hard work. I see strength. I see passion. And I see a mission to help other women too.

From this point forward I will be sharing more pictures of MYSELF on my Facebook page. 🙂 I will share my pictures even if it hurts. I will be IN the pictures for once. Want to learn more about ME? Go there.



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The Demons of Body Image

Performance-Based Training



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Ever since I started my fitness journey I have been trying to change my appearance. I’m not fussing about that because, honestly, it was my appearance that prompted me to make a change. I didn’t like how I looked in the mirror. I didn’t like how my clothes fit. I didn’t like that I never felt confident in the clothes I wore.

This motivation has kept me going for a very long time. I chose my workouts based on how I wanted to look. I manipulated my food for the goal of fat loss and/or muscle gain. I have had great progress over the last couple years and I am happy with it.

But, you know what?

I am tired of Appearance-Based Training.

I don’t think there is anything particularly wrong with Appearance-Based training. I’m just tired of drawing my motivation from there.

Do you want to know why?

It is because I was never satisfied. There was always something wrong with my body. I always had too much fat in the middle. My thighs were too wide. My butt was too flat. My shoulders weren’t round enough.

Even though I KNEW I had made awesome progress I was always reaching for more. When someone complimented me on my physique I struggled with believing them. I just couldn’t see what they saw.

So, I worked harder. I trained harder and I restricted my food more. I tried different kinds of what I now know to be fad diets. It’s okay. I fell for them too. I figured my “failure” was because I didn’t have enough self-control. I would train harder and restrict food more trying to find the magic bullet for self-control. And you know what happened? You can probably figure it out. I would just lose control because what I was trying to do just isn’t sustainable. I’d quit training programs and I’d binge on all the foods I was restricting.

I just couldn’t be content.

Well, I finally said, “ENOUGH!!!!”

I need something that will keep me motivated.

I need something that will make me feel good about my progress.

I need something that will help me be PROUD of my body.

Enter PERFORMANCE-BASED TRAINING

With Performance-Based Training I focus on my Performance. Shocking, I know.

I focus on how much weight I am lifting.

I focus on my form and that I am lifting the weight correctly.

When I have achieved a new personal record I pat myself on the back and say, “YOU ROCK! Your body just lifted THAT? You are a BEAST! You Freakin’ just lifted a couch, BABY!”

Then I say, “Now go home and EAT so you can go back tomorrow and lift MORE than the couch.”

Do you see the difference in self-talk?

I go from criticism to praise. Switching to Performance-Based Training has completely changed my attitude towards exercise and food. I can’t wait to get to the gym each day to see what I can do and I am enjoy my food because it will FUEL those awesome workouts.

My confidence has grown because, you know what, I AM STRONG! By GOLLY! I am not the leanest girl in the gym by any stretch of the imagination but God gave me muscles for a reason. It is my intention to USE them and see what they can do.

And here’s the really cool thing. Now that my focus is turned towards Performance and not Appearance, every so often I walk by a mirror and see that I am getting the body I’ve always wanted after all.

Huh. Who woulda thought?

Performance. Try it sometime.

LIFT ON!

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Performance-Based Training

Coming to Peace With Food: My Journey From Restriction to Freedom



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*Warning*  Long post ahead!  But, it is oh-so-important.

Today, I want to tell you a story. I want to tell you my story and it all has to do with food.  It is a story of how I went from restriction to freedom.

This journey really begins way back in childhood.

I grew up in a very good household.  I have zero complaints or problems with how I was raised. I am the person I am now because I was raised by an incredibly loving and supportive family.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.  I am blessed beyond words to have the family I have.

I was raised in the 80’s and the 90’s and I remember vividly the impact of the ‘Low Fat’ and ‘Low Calorie’ methods of dieting.  My parents were doing their best with the information they had.  You want to lose weight?  Eat low fat and low calorie.  That meant cakes with whipped icing instead of cream cheese icing.  That meant unsweet tea and ‘low fat’ versions of all our favorite snacks.  To my very moldable brain it was the first example of food restriction . I want to be thin or skinny so I must restrict all the foods I enjoy and eat the foods I don’t enjoy.

I started down the road of food restriction and food indulgence.

College became a nightmare in my food journey.  I went off to school and was in complete control of what went in my mouth. My school had dining halls that were “all you can eat” and they had so much food. It was all good tasting food too.  I know that’s hard to believe at a college but it was true.

I ate and I ate and I ate and I ate.  And I gained 50 lbs. in college.

I would take note of my weight gain and I would go into restriction mode.  I would go  to the gym. I would run around campus.  I would walk to classes instead of taking the bus.  I would lose weight.

Then, something would happen to upset me emotionally and all the hard work would be flushed down the toilet.   I would gain that weight back plus some all the way to the 50 lbs.  I went from 130 lbs to 180 lbs in college.

As I look back at college, I can see how formative those years were for me in many ways. I defined who I am as an individual.  I experienced true pain and hurt through a couple major losses.  I also experienced TRUE LOVE by finding my Savior and finding my future husband.

I left college knowing I was at an unhealthy weight.  So, I did what I knew to do. I adopted a low fat/low calorie way of eating.  I ate 1200 calories a day (at 180 lbs. ) and only 20 grams of fat a day.  Guess what?  It worked.  I lost weight pretty consistently each week without much exercise.  When I hit a plateau I started going to the gym and I got my first taste of weight lifting. The weight loss got back into gear and I was down to 140 lbs. by my wedding day. It took me a year and a half to lose that 40 lbs. That was on the rather slow side but I did it and I was happy.

But, let me share something with you that occurred during that time. I would restrict my food very heavily during the week (Monday – Friday).  Yes, I was hungry but I adapted and I learned tricks to help along the way.  I told myself I could have a ‘cheat day’ on the weekends but that often meant a ‘cheat weekend.’

Those cheat weekends became ‘binges.’ It has taken me a long time to admit it but I would definitely BINGE on the weekends.  I would eat everything in sight.  I would eat till I was sick.

Then I would restrict even more during the week to ‘correct’ my indiscretions over the weekend. It was a nasty cycle.

Sometimes the cheating of the weekend would flow into the week for various reasons.  Perhaps I was stressed from something or I thought, “Oh, what’s one more bag of chips?  I’ll get back to it tomorrow.”

THIS has been my way of eating for a very long time. I restrict and then I binge.  I feel guilty about the binge and I restrict even more.  The restriction deprives me of so much nutrition that I can’t stand it anymore and then I binge again. Round and round we go.

This mentality has taken many different forms.

I have done meal replacement shakes. If one meal replacement shakes doesn’t help me reach my goals, I will drink two day.

I have done green smoothies. (Note: I think green smoothies are still nutrition powerhouses and I still drink them. It was my attitude toward them previously that was the problem).  Same as the meal replacement shakes.  One doesn’t work?  Drink two tomorrow.

When those didn’t work I started eliminating entire food groups. The problem was always something in my diet.  It had nothing to do with something missing or wrong inside me.

I have gone vegetarian and I have gone vegan not because I thought those were the best option for my overall health but because I thought RESTRICTING something in my diet was the key to success.  It is the animal proteins keeping me fat not the rather frequent binges.

I have done an elimination diet that fed into a more Paleo lifestyle of restricting dairy and grains. The elimination diet, for me, just confirmed what I already knew that I have an intolerance to dairy.  I did see results from eliminating dairy and grains from my diet.  But, guess what?  I would binge!  I would binge until I was sick.

Oh, and how could I forget.  I also adopted a competition diet for a time.  I would follow what girls who compete in figure competitions and I would eat what they ate to diet down for competition.  When done without proper guidance, this is EXTREMELY restrictive. Ten points to the first person who says what would happen quite often during this period of dieting. Yeah. You got it. BINGE! It was horrible and I was miserable but I wanted to be LEAN….by golly!

During this time I was heavy into weight lifting and I was learning a lot about exercise and food.  I realized, oh my goodness, I wasn’t feeding my body enough!  I loosened up a bit on my food.  I allowed myself more calories.  And my weightlifting improved.  All my lifts got heavier.  My body started responding and I was happier and more content.

Slowly, but surely my goals moved from being ‘appearance’ based to ‘performance’ based.  I went from “what should I NOT eat so I look lean” to “What should I EAT so my deadlift or squat get heavier?”

Here’s the exciting part.  My body really responded to the training and the extra calories.  I was leaning out even though the scale rarely budged. I embraced my muscles as beautiful.  I started to actually like my body. *GASP*

It has been a LONG journey. It has been a very emotional journey. It has taken a lot of PRAYER and soul searching.  But, I can honestly say for the first time in my life….

I HAVE FOUND FREEDOM WITH FOOD!!!

It has no control over me like it used to.

The true root of this discovery is acknowledging that food has been an idol in my life for way too long. I allowed food to control me.  I allowed food to dictate my mood.  I allowed food to be my comfort when it should’ve been Jesus.

I now allow myself to EAT THE FOOD and BE HAPPY!

Does this mean eating everything in sight?  Nope.

It still means making healthy choices.  I eat more fruit and vegetables than chips and soda.

I still have performance goals and junk food does not support those goals. So, I don’t eat junk food. I’m okay with that.  I don’t crave junk food anymore.

Why is it different this time?  Because, I know that I can eat that junk food any time I want to.  I choose not to because my goal is bigger than that temporary junk food.  Also, my GOD is bigger than that junk food and far more FULFILLING than that junk food.

Do I eat apple pie at small group?  Yep.

Do I feel guilty about it?  Nope.

Do I binge anymore?  I am so happy to say now that the answer is NO!

I can eat one slice of apple pie and be content.  I don’t eat two or three thinking I’ll never have apple pie again.  I can have apple pie again if I want it. So, I eat one small piece today and am happy.

This is a good place to be. 🙂  I pray more people can find this place.

This is a BIG, HUGE, ENORMOUS reason why I chose to become a NUTRITION COACH! I long to help other people find that peace with food and their own bodies that I am experiencing now. Feel free to message me if you want to talk!

I am ALWAYS listening!!

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Coming to Peace With Food: My Journey From Restriction to Freedom