’Tis the season to reflect! Would you spend a little time with me for a cozy heart-to-heart?
As a theologian and personal trainer, my “angle” is helping clients (and myself) rise to the next level of a healthy lifestyle. It’s going deeper and asking, “what is it, really?” What is it that you want? What stops you, really, from going after it? What stops you, really, from succeeding? What is it, really, that motivates you? Allow me to share a current personal struggle in hopes we can all learn from it.
During my month-long trip to Europe visiting my family, I gained eight pounds. Before this past Thanksgiving week, it had been five pounds. Even though I did everything I could comfortably do (working out, drinking lots of water, and limiting portion sizes and snacks), those five pounds did not disappear on my scale. So, realizing that I ate more than I needed to over the past few days, I refrained from weighing in, only to be rudely awaken this morning.
Once my shock developed from a mere emotional to a more rational level, my mind began to argue with my body: “But yesterday I only had one and a half servings of strawberry-cream-pie and I walked on the treadmill for almost 45 minutes!!” It went on an on (for the few moments my 22 months old little boy granted me for my distraught inner dialog, did I mention a rude awakening?) until my truth-loving spirit rose up in me and began nudging: “What is it, really, that bothers me?”
Let me fill you in on a secret: If I looked how I usually feel, I would be super lean and have lots of muscles. I feel great on the inside! I know I am loved by God, undeserved and unwavering. I have purpose and passion in my life. I am grateful for family, friends, and karaoke. And not looking how I picture myself bothers me. I have been a personal trainer now for over 5 years and still my left arm will not resemble the fact that I can do push-ups and dips ’til the cows have not only come home but long fallen asleep. If a personal training client would bring this to my attention, I would show them a few strengthening exercises to do every other day. Have I taken the time to actually reflect on my situation and come up with a plan for myself? I have not (but I’m liking what I just wrote)!
In the two months I have been back in the US, I have focused more on strength workouts and not on cardio. Research shows that you can usually burn more calories during a cardio workout than strength training. I am getting stronger when I strength train, but I'm not burning as many calories as I would with straight cardio. This explains why my jeans are still really tight and my weight is not going down. But, since I have this idea of looking a certain way, am I spending every day at the gym? Nope.
When I am at the gym do I go out of my comfort zone to acquire new levels of power, strength or cardio capabilities? Again no, usually I am only at the gym 3 times a week to teach fitness classes and chat with people in the sauna. So, obviously I am not putting in the actual effort it would take to make my stored energy (fat) melt away. And on top of all that, as you can imagine, my stomach got used to overall larger quantities of food than before I had left for Europe, which has made it challenging to cut portion sizes and consistently choose produce over pasta. So, not seeing the weight vanish may simply be a reflection of all this combined. And what an appreciated reminder to go deep and look at my real motives because beyond all health-related reasons to hold my recommended weight; why do I lose my peace about my physique and a number on a scale?
I will perform an honest self-inventory and ask if -maybe just a little bit- my self-worth may be tangled up with my appearance. Compared to other personal trainers, do I look the part? What will others think? Will someone have reason to accuse me of talking the talk but omitting to walking the walk? If my parents, especially my father, would come and visit me right now, would he be impressed with my obvious ability of self-discipline or would he not approve and I’d feel like a failure? ….Oi to the world! After all these years of soul-care I still have daddy-issues! I need help. I need truth that is more powerful than the lies that block my way. I need to hear from God.
When I quiet my mind, close my eyes, and ask God about his perspective on my stuff I feel him say: “I love you.”
God is not like my earthly father, who surely means well, but like most other parents, falls short. His love and attention is not bound to conditions. God does not see my faults and decides I still haven’t figured things out. He sees one of his children who wants to love him, but who gets caught up in old lies sometimes. God sees the name that is proclaimed over my life: Jesus. He sees endless potential of joy and contentment because that is who he is and I am his.
God desires you to live abundantly and sometimes that means living a healthier lifestyle. But let this lifestyle be guided by God's love, not the expectations of others. You are a child of God.
John 1: 9-13 reminds us that: “The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world (Jesus). He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”
’Tis the season is upon us and we are invited to be showered with joy as we reflect on our brokenness and find that the savior was born long ago and that his salvation knows no limits. He reconciles everyone with the Father, God, who receives him as a savior. That is why we get to love to look truthfully into what it is, really, that is going on under the surface. I invite you to go there with God. Be honest about what really is going on. Jesus, the truth, the way, and the abundant life, will meet you and speak peace into your striving and struggling. God loves you!
You are worth more than mediocre. You are worth exceptional health!
© 2017 Living Wellness, LLC Revolutionizing health, one community at a time.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.