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Monday, September 7, 2015

True Worth

When I was little I was often told that I had a very pretty face.  Sometimes the "compliment" was a blunt, cruel statement, "You're too pretty to be so fat." Other times it was followed by encouraging advice about my weight.  Some advice even warned about not being able to find a husband if I didn't lose weight.  The message was clear, beauty and weight were interrelated.  It didn't matter that I was a smart and compassionate little girl, the deciding factor was weight.   

Ironically, these well intentioned comments (paired with other significant factors) had the opposite effect on my weight. Duh!  As my weight steadily increased so did my anxieties about everyday activities.  My anxieties triggered binges and the cycle was unstoppable.  

 Physical Education class was one of those triggers.  I would spend all day worrying about what we would be doing in P.E. and I couldn’t wait till it was over.  I felt failure each time I finished things like “the mile” long after everyone else did or when having to try the rope climb in front of my whole class knowing very well that I couldn’t do it.  

Being weighed in front of my whole class was another trauma.  I dreaded the day that the person behind me would overhear my weight.  When I was in fourth grade one of my classmates heard the P.E. teacher disclosing my weight to a student teacher.  When he told me that he had heard the secret number I felt so ashamed!

Shame is a result of having done something wrong or foolish.  This perfectly describes how I felt about my weight, even as a 7 year old.  My self worth was based on what people told me about myself, about my weight.  Thankfully, I've learned a lot since then.  

The true authority of my worth is Jesus.  Does it sound too cliche?    It's okay, think about it.  Jesus purchased me with His own precious blood.  My imperfect body and spirit were worth His death on the cross.  Why would I continue to be enslaved by beauty norms?  Instead, I have learned to use my imperfect body to honor Him in all I do whether it's doing my best while running 400 meters or doing a modified rope climb.  He is where my worth resides.

Have you found your true worth?

1 Corinthians 7:23  We have already been purchased and redeemed by His blood.  

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Bandwagon

Oh, the bandwagon.  For those who may be unfamiliar with the term, it's negative connotation comes from people's willingness to conform to social pressures or trends.  For as long as I can remember, people have jumped on low carb, low fat, low calorie, and even gluten-free bandwagons in the attempt to drop some pounds.

Don't get me wrong, we all know I'm on a bandwagon or two.  Thankfully America's health wagon has taken a shift from carb-depleted, cardio-induced thinness to strong women who eat the right foods.  You guessed it, I prefer the latter.

Vanity isn't my purpose for conforming but, I am proud of the way my curves are shaping up. My bandwagon works for me. Thanks to it, I've made new friends and found new passions.  The problem comes when I make excuses for myself, forget the reason I started my journey, and decide it's okay jump off the wagon.  Even the bible warns about complacency.

Proverbs 1:32 tells us that fools are destroyed by their own complacency.  I've teeter-tottered within the same 10 pounds lately and have lost sight of my goal.  Today I'm making a commitment to hop on those bandwagons and get to work.  Whichever your bandwagon might be, are you ready to reflect on your "why" and recommit?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Ready, Set, Go!

A few days ago I got a message from a very sweet friend wanting some pointers of how to get started.  My first thought was, "Wow!  Someone wants advice from me?"

This message caused me to reflect and here's the advice I came up with.  Look for some gyms or programs and visit a few.  There are communities of  supportive people everywhere.  If you feel like people at a gym are staring, you're in the wrong gym!  Look for a place whose members take time to encourage you.

While visiting Beatrice, Nebraska during Spring Break I found a really neat place.  I had gotten very tired of the hotel's treadmill and searched for CrossFit boxes online but, they were too far.  I did, however, find Jazzercise Beatrice.

I could feel the energy as soon as I entered the room.  I was greeted by a very caring lady who gave me a quick tour and I jumped right in!  There were women there of various ages and shapes.  Owner and instructor Kristeen Thies kept the place pump'n and although, the atmosphere was very different from CrossFit, I felt right at home because everyone was working so hard.  This is the kind of place everyone needs!

Here's a picture of Kristeen and I;  I got to wear her St. Patrick's day hat!

Another good idea is to find a group of people to help you stay accountable.  One group that has helped hundreds of women nation wide is TOPS (Take Pounds Off Sensibly).  TOPS is a non-profit organization whose members offer support through weekly weigh-ins, goal setting, and even friendly competition.  FaceBook groups can offer instant support.  My favorite is Down With Dani March Challenge where creator, Danyeil Hamilton Durrant engages members in fitness and nutrition challenges all while sharing her inspirational story. 

Thank you, Connie, for inspiring this post!  May you find great places!

Friday, April 3, 2015

In the Meantime, Invest in Yourself

I'm notorious for running out of the house without makeup and my hair still wet. When I can, I use red lights on the way to school or my lunch break to do my makeup.  It's not that I dislike makeup, shopping and all things pink but, it's just not in my nature to prim (mostly because I like sleeping). I do, however, strongly believe that women should invest in themselves.

Far too often I talk to women who are just waiting.  Waiting to lose those last 10 pounds before they buy new jeans.  Saving that one nice outfit for a special occasion.  Waiting to build just enough of a nest egg before going on vacation.  Waiting until they aren't so busy to hang out with their friends.  No, instant gratification is not necessarily a good thing but, why do we withhold it so often?  Life is too short!  BUY THE JEANS.  Take them in if they get too big before you can buy your next pair!  Make an occasion for your outfit.  Go on vacation now!  Invest in relationships today.

I honor my goals but, I am savoring my journey.  I've invested time in myself by taking control of my health and starting a blog (I also wrote my pearls of wisdom for Style is Sizeless, click here to see my post).  These things are definitely out of my comfort zone.  Also out of my comfort zone is anything related to clothing but, I am following my own advice and investing in those jeans!  Soon I'll get to share with you all another exciting project- I'm now a contributor to The Curvy Fashionista!  Watch for my first post very soon!

She is clothed in strength and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future. Proverbs 31:25

Saturday, March 14, 2015

The Doctor Visit

My annual mammogram experience includes sitting in a ladies-only waiting room with my upper body wrapped in the top half of a hospital gown and awkward small talk with other ladies to fill in the time.  My last visit was especially tense.  Karen, the lady sitting to my right, shared with me her worries.

After her mammogram, she was asked to return to the waiting area while the doctor examined her films.  This is a standard routine that allows doctors to do extra checking (ultrasound, biopsy) if something suspicious is found all before the patient goes home.  Although practical, the routine creates an eerie atmosphere in the waiting area.

Karen's results had taken longer than usual and, to her or anyone in her situation, it meant something was wrong.  I prayed hard for her that day but, it didn't help the minutes go by any faster.  I feared that it would be my turn to go to the examining room before I learned of her fate. I didn't know her but, we shared a common, burdening worry that created a temporary bond and I didn't want her to be alone if she got bad news. Finally, after an eternity of 15 minutes, a nurse peaked her head into the room.  Karen was so fixated on her fear that her body literally jumped when she heard her name.  "Everything looks fine," were the three most important words of Karen's day.

They were my favorite words of the day, too!  I had a great visit with my doctor.  Dr. Hunt informed me that the changes I'm making in my life will have a bigger positive impact on my health than a bilateral mastectomy.  What a powerful statement!  She also told me to keep focusing on and writing goals based on fitness and nutrition instead of a certain number of pounds.  This leads to sustainable habits, she said.  For once in my life, a doctor is proud of me!  Here is the proud doctor posing with me in front of the beautiful quilt she made!  

Thank you for reading and please encourage those around you to schedule life-saving screenings!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

A WOD of Their Own

CrossFit is a group of people bound together by a desire to achieve (and help others achieve) a better version of themselves than they were yesterday.    I often find myself wondering how I was lucky enough to find this group of people.  Last month Andrea, one of our coaches asked my friend, Magaly, and I to create a workout that told the story of our friendship.  You can watch a short animated video of the workout here.  The support we got from the members was touching!  

That's my little sister jump roping!

A man of many companions may come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. --Proverbs 18:24

Sunday, February 15, 2015

It's Your Time

Are you hoping to start an exercise program or establish healthier eating habits? Wondering how to get started or re-start?  It's your time! The truth is, this is the journey of a million beginnings for me.  After many failed attempts, I finally feel successful.  Here are the three secrets I've unlocked that have made all the difference.

1.  Setting Goals

Although my goal has never been to become skinny (I love my curves!), I'm currently a recovering scale addict.  Eight months ago my goal was to drop 100 pounds.  This goal made me obsess over numbers.  The obsession with weighing-in became very evident the last couple of months because weight loss is actually at a stand-still and it's not because I haven't been working hard.

Keep these things in mind when setting goals.    Lifestyle changes can lead to weight loss but, if your focus is just weight loss, you will be an emotional wreck when you plateau.  Focus your goals on nutrition, fitness, sleeping habits, or water intake.  Keep goals *SMART- Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-based.  For example, as apposed to saying that I'll drink more water, my goal is to drink 100 ounces of water each day this week.  I've read articles that suggest drinking half your body weight in ounces.  Drinking 155 ounces of water each day is not an attainable or realistic goal for me at this time.  At the end of 7 days, I will be able to measure my success in reaching this SMART goal.

2. Finding a Support System

Find someone or lots of someones to help keep you accountable, encourage and mentor you.  I found support in what seemed like the most unlikely places.  The CrossFit athletes that I have the blessing to know are a key factor in establishing life changes.  It's both heart-warming and humbling to know that, no matter how slow I run, they'll never let me run alone.  Trust me, I've tried to avoid the awkward moments when I'm breathing so heavily that it feels like I'm about to die and my dedicated friends are doing everything they can to run as slow as I'm going.  They believe in me and I won't let them down.

I also found the unconditional support of empowering women on social media.  Secret FaceBook books can be your best ally when implementing changes.  Being able to vent, post goals, ask for advice, cheer others on, read success stories, and post pictures to a controlled audience is priceless.  Please comment below if you're interested in joining of of these online communities or start your own with people you know.

3. Planning

Life happens all around me.  With a demanding career and two children to raise, my days aren't naturally conducive to exercising regularly or eating nutritious foods.  I have to force it. The key is in planning.  I've found a sense of security in planning meals, snacks, and grocery shopping trips for the week.  I seem to control emotional eating better when my food is planned. My Sunday evening routine includes preparing breakfasts and healthy snacks for the week.  I also take time to chop any meats and veggies I may need for our meals during the week.  In short, food prep is the new fast food in my home.

Dedicated to those who give me their unconditional support, are my healthy food companion when cake is abundant, run by my slow-pokey side, cheer me on during workouts, and encourage me on tough days...thank you!  You know who you are!

*SMART goals were developed for educational institutes but, are perfect for any area of life.  For more SMART goal information go here.