Sometimes the fear of change is worse than the change itself.
Although I cannot claim this as an original statement, I must say, I have to OWN IT! I am the queen of plaguing myself with fear. Especially when there is change in my life involving no plan ahead. Yes, this one of my OCD Mama traits coming out! "MUST. ORGANIZE. AND. PLAN. MY LIFE. AT ALL TIMES!" There are logical explanations for doing so, because unfortunately the outcome of what we fear can sometimes become a reality. Am I right mamas? I often tell myself , "if I can just organize an plan my life I won't feel like such a mess", (or so I try to convince myself). But God ALWAYS has a plan for our lives! And in the last several months He has stretched my heart teaching me a valuable lesson of LETTING IT GO! I had to let go of my plans because I believe He had better plans ahead.
As summer break grew closer and closer my anxiety for the changes that were about to happen in my life increased.
"Lord, I do not know how to handle this. Why does everything have to change this summer?"
My routine was gone! In addition to a minor elbow injury leaving my workouts limited, I was also unable to go to the gym with my kids at home. A summons for jury duty had me stressed, because as a stay-at-home mom ,"Who would take care of my children?" A planned mission trip and possible travel for my husband meant I had no partner to help.( And I am perfectly honest when it comes to this......MY HUSBAND ROCKS!) He keeps me sane. Mom 24/7, NO breaks, NO "me time". It was all a bit overwhelming.
I have highlighted this passage from LET. IT. GO. by Karen Ehman : (my summer read)
"Our only solution is to cultivate the gentle art of acceptance, of learning not to ask"Why me?" but rather "What am I supposed to learn at this junction of life that will make me a better person and draw me closer to God?" We shouldn't pout, asking God to get us out of the circumstances. Instead of crying, "Lord, get me out of here!" we should instead be praying, "Lord, why have you brought me here?" (The Seduction to Self pg. 53)
"For God has of given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline." ~2 Timothy 1:7 NLT
Though I felt powerless to what was to come, God kept whispering, "let it go". Friends, I wish I could tell you I gracefully surrendered my anxiety to God, but sadly I didn't. At least not right away. I indulged in my fare share of pouting before I asked, "Lord why have you brought me here?". It took more than half the summer for me to accept the "no schedule, go with the flow" summer in our house. Some things worked out and some not so much the way I wanted. My husband did not do any traveling, partially because the motor burnt out in one of our vehicles right before the mission team was about to leave. (See, I told you my husband is awesome because he would not just leave me in such a crisis). I was NOT chosen for the jury panel and was able to find child care for the one day I had to report for jury selection. And my injury, the gym, and my "me time",, well, that is still a struggle. But, God got me through the summer and we were blessed to have a relaxing and wonderful beach trip at the end of it all! I believe God put me in this series of uncomfortable circumstances to slow me down a bit and to mold my heart, urging me to let Him take control
Now that school has started again I have come full circle landing right back where I started. New routine, new schedule, new projects, etc. My tendency to want to organize and plan everything prevails. But I am desperately trying to not forget the LET IT GO mindset. I learned that when we don't just let things go sometimes we miss the blessings of what God has for us. I discovered that those blessing for me is when I am being intentional about savoring the moments with my children. I found that I was so worried about my task at hand and what was the next thing on my to-do list that I was often multitasking through those everyday "moments" with my children. I wasn't stopping to listen to them. Not only was I missing the moments I was overwhelming myself in the process.
I have much more to learn but I am excited about my NEW journey of LETTING IT (somethings) GO to make room for the new things God has for me.!
I hope my summer heart stretch encouraged you today and I hope you will keep reading as I continue to share my journey I call life!
Blessings Friends <3
WHO'S UP FOR A CHALLENGE?
If you are reading this chances are you are already intrigued! (read to the end there are prizes)
This week I'm celebrating my ONE YEAR Birthday of Fit Life! But I'm not celebrating with cupcakes and ice cream.........Ooooh No! I am paying it forward with a Challenge to inspire YOU!
This challenge is to help get you eating healthy and clean, to keep you accountable, and to jump start your healthier lifestyle!
What is clean eating? Check out this link on bodybuilding.com Ten Rules of Eating Clean.
Your goal is to eat a clean diet for the next FOUR WEEKS! Beginning Monday May 5th and ending May 31st. You can earn entries throughout the month for a chance to win a prize at the end! BUT remember that your biggest reward will be a new healthy lifestyle! Here is how you can earn entries:
*I will be adding ways to earn more entries on my Facebook Page throughout the month. So be sure to check there often! Be sure to LIKE my page first so you get all the updates!
HOW TO ENTER:
WHAT YOU'LL WIN!
Well for now that's a surprise I will reveal later (I'm still compiling some great stuff for you). But I will tell you that it will include bundle of goodies with some of my new favorite things from Sprelly, Wildtree, and Complete Nutrition Fredericksburg .
ALREADY EATING CLEAN? Well then you you've a bit of an advantage, you've done the hard part of breaking it in! You can still participate for the prize. BUT, I hope you will offer a little more encouragement on Motivation Mondays!
NEED HELP WITH A PLAN?
I am certainly not an expert (yet) in meal plans but I have learned quite a lot in the last year. I'll be glad to help you get started. Just let me know in the body of your "I'M IN" e-mail.
I hope you are up for the Challenge!
Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought with a price. Therefore, honor God with your body. (1 Corinthians 6:19)
As I viewed our recent photos of our family trip to Pigeon Forge, TN I was completely mortified. "Is this really how I look", I thought? It was approximately six months after having my (first) son. At this point in my life I weighed my heaviest ever, by far! Yes, during my pregnancy with my first child I definitely took advantage of "eating for two", gaining 55 lbs! But, for some reason I had the illusion that most of that weight would magically disappear when the baby was born. Oh, I ate whatever I wanted and, I ate often! I enjoyed my pregnancy! But nothing could prepare me for the disappointment I faced when the numbers on the scale had not gone down even six months after childbirth. No, I was NOT one of the lucky moms who lost weight while breastfeeding or fit in her pre-pregnancy jeans weeks after. Nope! It clung to me in more way than one.
For many of us women this is a hard reality to deal with. For some it is a struggle that continues even years later.
The fact of the matter is that God created us with body fat! Just like our other organs and tissues, fat has its function to keep us alive and healthy. But, it is no secret that overindulging or not taking care of our bodies can result in more body fat than we need. As 1 Corinthians 6:19 indicates God desires for us to take care of the bodies he gave us! Why, however, do we let our body fat (weight) define us as this "word art" indicates? Well I'm not so sure I have a perfect answer for that question but I will tell you that I have struggled as many of you.
Since that time in my life I have lost the weight (45 pounds), gained nearly as much back in my second pregnancy (that 45 pounds I had lost) , lost that baby weight, and some time later let a few pounds creep up on me again!
Each time I had gained or lost weight changed the way I thought about myself. But, have I ever felt at peace about my "numbers" or the realities of my body even when I was "skinny"? Truthfully, I would have to say NO! Maybe this is you too, struggling to feel peace with your body and/or the numbers on the scale? If you haven't already see what Lysa TerKeurst says about giving up the guilt for peace. Click to watch the YouTube.com video of Made to Crave Session 3.
I never thought myself the "skinny girl". Even as a majorette in high school I always thought myself as the fat one. Though I didn't really have a problem with my waist, I was however very self conscious about my "chunky" legs and not so skinny arms. Even now working through this session of Made to Crave I have struggled with having peace about my body (those "chunky" legs). But, as I continue to do my weight training I have come to a realization that God has blessed me with great muscle tone. It can be so difficult to understand our bodies when we have been programmed by media and our societies views. I don't believe that was God's desire for us to be so critical of ourselves. I am learning what an amazing design our bodies really are.
I fully intended to get this post out last week. But, what do you know LIFE happened. I began writing early last week and then it sat......unfinished for the rest of the week. So my sincere apologies!
Due to our last snow storm my small group had to cancel the second meeting for the glorious weather (are you sensing my sarcasm). So this put us a week behind our original starting point.
And here I am shut in again in yet another snowstorm. I am choosing to say it is a blessing to be able to catch up. Those of you following online and are completely confused about the reading I am just following my small group sessions. We just finished through chapter 6 in the participant's guide study. So in this blog I am going to talk about getting a plan, accountability and tapping into God for empowerment.
By now I hope you have found your "Want To" in your MTC journey! When I began my journey last spring my "Want To" was to loose weight, feel better, be less stressed, and get healthy just for ME! My "Want To" to Compete was to prove to my doubting-self that I could and a reason to completely rely on God and conquer a few fears. Maybe your Want To is to simply to make healthier choices or to crave God not food! Its ok to start small and build from there.
In Chapter Three Getting a Plan and Chapter Four Friends Don't Let Friends Eat before Thinking Lysa indicates that these two things will go hand in hand for success in your journey.
"Getting a plan is the first crucial step: getting a friend or two to join you is the next" (MTC pg 39).
Now, I began reading MTC after the new year, not until after I had lost the weight and had already competed, but I completely agree with Lysa! I would not have succeeded my goals this far without those two things.
If you know me at all you are aware that I like my routine, I love a good plan, and I get jazzed about organization! So needless to say I thrived by having an exercise and meal plan! So what does getting a plan mean for you? Well, whether your goal is to lose weight or just eat healthier having a meal plan will keep you accountable and help you stay on track.
Dave Ramsey, financial guru and founder of Financial Peace University says,
" Fail to Plan and plan to fail".
The hard truth is that this is applies to many areas of life including weight loss and healthy living.
When I started in the spring (2013) I didn't have a definitive written plan. I did however, commit to changing my eating habits by cutting back on processed sugar and making healthier choices. I was losing weight but, when I began really tweaking my diet and writing down what I was eating, this is when I really saw results.
Planning your meals for the day or even for the week is like your road map or GPS. You might get there eventually but you are more likely to get lost or get stuck in traffic.
If you read my previous blog D is for......Diet? you know that after competing I stopped using my road map and lost my way for a bit. I discovered that I needed the structure. Really it is more than a diet; its a lifestyle change. Having a plan works! You can visit my newest Fitness & Nutrition Page for a few tips on how to get started.
Another crucial component to a successful healthy lifestyle journey is having friends to support you. This means friends who will keep you accountable to your goals and help keep you on track. In Chapter 4, Friends Don't let Friends Eat before Thinking Lysa says,
" We must be aware that desperation breeds degradation. In other words, when what is lacking in life goes from being an annoyance to an anxiety we run the risk of compromising in ways we never though we would"......
"That's why we must have friends to help us remember that what we're giving up in short term will help us get what we really want in the long term. If we forget to be self-controlled and alert, we are prime targets for Satan to usher us right away from the new standards we've set in our life. That's degradation." (MTC-pg, 42)
Support from my friends is no doubt a key factor in my own success thus far. First of all I had 100% support from my husband as he saw my passion grow. Not only did he encourage me but he showered me with new workout gear, helped me cook my meals each week, and was my #1 fan at my competition! My second most important accountability and support was my trainer Heather (Gymnut Fitness). I knew that aside from my own hard work I was accountable to her hard work as well. I knew I needed to follow through so that her coaching was not in vein! She gave me clear limits and I was not going to let her down. My boot camp girls were yet another support as well. I knew I had a time and a place three time a week to stay accountable to my fitness goals!
Lysa TerKuerst also says,
"Knowing I couldn't hide little cheats here and there from Holly kept me from slipping. I couldn't stand the thought of having to tell her I'd messed up- so I didn't. Our motto became, " If it's not part of our plan, we don't put it in our mouths." (MTC- pg 45)
This is how I felt with my accountability friends too! I would have been difficult without them!
Probably the most important resource in achieving success in our journey but often stumbled upon as an afterthought (when it comes to food) is God's empowerment! I know in some ways it was for me. I did not start out by going to God and asking him to help me to lose weight or ask for self-control when it came to food. But, I will say that when it came to my decision to compete I knew I was going to have to rely on Him. It was much more that just changing my physical body for a competition. This was about God changing me; my heart, my confidence, as well as my body.
"Becoming a women of self-discipline honors God and helps me live the godly characteristic of self-control." (MTC- pg 61)
God equips us with this verse in Galatians, Paul writes
"So I say, live by the Spirit, and you you will not gratify the desires of the sinful nature" (Galatians 5:16)
So in other words, if we follow the prompting of the Holt Spirit, He will equip up with the self-control (not giving in to our cravings).
If you haven't already, you can read about my overcomer moment during competition training in my blog entry Overcomer. God truly became my strength in self-disciple when I knew I didn't have strength on my own.
I just love the idea that we are equipped with Gods Empowerment! Doesn't that just give you an energy surge just thinking about it!
As we continue on this Journey together I pray that you will equip yourself with a good plan, supportive friends (accountability) and Gods Empowerment! And I truly believe you will succeed! And know my friend that you will always have support here!
Allow me to re-introduce myself.........
Hello, my name is Melissa and I am ADDICTED TO SUGAR!
Oh yes, I can say this and laugh but, unfortunately this is a very REAL and TRUE statement! And I know I'm not alone because many have shared with me the same struggle. Maybe you have a battle with sugar cravings as well.
I didn't always think that sugar addiction was real. I just joked about it, chalking it up as just a weakness and I just needed more discipline. This was only half truth. I discovered this hard reality after disciplining myself for seven months including training for competition. If you read my last blog D is for......Diet? I shared how I had let go of my diet structure and lost control a bit after competing. The grip of those returning sugar cravings were just so overwhelming. I began questioning myself, how did I ignore this for seven months and now can't get past it for seven minutes? But, I was determined that MY CRAVING WILL NOT CONTROL ME!
One day as I searched the library for more nuggets of nutrition knowledge I found the book that confirmed that I was NOT crazy! Sugar Addiction is in fact real! The title is
Beat Sugar Addiction Now, by Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D. This book reveals four types of sugar addiction. * http://vitality101.com/
Recently, several have asked me if I have simple solutions for sugar cravings. Though my nutrition knowledge has increased in the last several months including my own experiences battling sugar cravings, sadly I haven't found any "simple" solutions. However, this book does explain why we may be craving sugar and the possible remedies to controlling those cravings.
You can find out which of the four types of sugar addiction you may have by clicking the following link and taking Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum's quizzes.
You can find out which of the four types of sugar addiction you may have by clicking the following link and taking Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum's quizzes.
I spotted my type of sugar addiction right away by its title, "Feed Me Now or I Will Kill You:" When life's stress has exhausted your adrenal glands. This was yet another joke among my husband and I because the "mean girl" does in fact come out when I am hungry! Well, the jokes on him because I found legitimate reasons for becoming "mean girl" when I'm hungry. Reading this began to make sense. When I had weened myself off of sugar and was eating often my cravings were much more controllable. But it also explained a bit why I had some difficulty with a few days of low carbohydrates during my training.
But the truth is, regardless of what type of craving you may have, adjusting your diet is certainly priority #1! If you reduce your sugar intake including processed foods (such as processed carbohydrates) and replace with fruits, natural sweeteners
in moderation (Stevia or Truvia), and "good" carbohydrates (brown rice, whole wheat breads, sweat potatoes, beans etc), this should help control your sugar cravings.
Now on the spiritual side of things, those of you who have been following our Made to Crave* bible study you know this is all about dealing with our cravings for food. In Chapter 2, Replacing My Cravings, Lysa TerKeurst talks about using her cravings to prompt her to pray. She writes:
"God, it's 10:00 a.m. and I'm craving again. I want those snack crackers that are literally screaming my name. But instead of reaching for those snack crackers, I'm praying. I'll be honest, I don't want to pray. I want those crackers. But, instead I'm going to have a handful of almonds and brick by brick.....prayer by prayer.....lay a path for victory."
"Give ear to my words, O LORD, consider my sighing. Listen to my cry for help, my King and my God, for you I pray. In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice, in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation" (Psalm 5:1-3).
So what would happen if we did this too? Replaced our cravings with prayer. Is this a challenge you are willing to take with me?
Though battling any addiction is never simple or easy and, I'm certainly not an expert, I hope that sharing this information and a little bit of my experience will be helpful to you. And friends we are all in this together. This week in our MTC study we will take a look at Chapter 4 Friends Don't Let Friends Eat before Thinking. I hope you will keep reading the weeks to come. I have plans to share more about our Made to Crave study as well as more on fitness and nutrition.
D is for.......... DIET? OK, so my little OCD acronym (Organize Create Design) may be taking on a new spin! Those of you who have been following me on my fitness and nutrition journey know that nutrition has become a very important part of my life. So important in fact that I have taken new steps in my journey to learning more about nutrition in order to become a "health coach". I have truly been inspired by how nutrition effects us. Not only does it effect our physical bodies but also our emotions, mental clarity, and can even effect our spiritual health!
Lets rewind a bit..........back to, oh let's say October. During my training my diet changed drastically. It is safe to say that 75-80% (if not more) of my competition prep was in my diet. I didn't mind the new diet at first, I actually loved the organization and structure of it (surprised?). But, after several weeks I began to feel the effects of the extremely strict diet. Physically I was feeling depleted and I was becoming very bored eating the same thing day in and day out. It became hard, sticking with it took a huge amount of discipline! Have you ever had a craving? Have you ever felt hungry? Multiply that by a 100! But you know what? It made me dig down deep and surrender to my Jesus. In my previous blog I Am An Overcomer I share how I found my strength and encouragement. I knew that the strict diet was temporary and I would have more flexibility when the competition was over. And I looked forward to it, believe me. But, during this time I learned so much about how food really can effect your body. I saw changes I had never seen before. Despite being tired and overwhelmed at times it really did feel good to be healthy, eating a clean diet, and being in the best shape of my life.
I made it through competition day (November 23, 2013) but the journey was far from over. Remember the flexibility that I couldn't wait for.......Well, the flexibility quickly turned to a new struggle. Actually this was an old struggle with a slightly different face. Balance!
Hello........Hello.........Self-control are you still here? No answer. Are you hiding? Come out, I want you to meet my friend Balance. I know you will be good friends!
O.K. not exactly how it went but you get the picture. I felt like I had lost control of what I had worked so hard on. The problem was I had no goal now, well not a specific one. The Holidays had tripped me up, I had given in to the lies that "I deserved a break. I deserved to eat a little, after all I had been on some form of diet for 7 months."
But now it was January and I couldn't seem to get out of my hole. I desperately wanted my self-control back and wanted a balanced healthy lifestyle. So here I was again full circle struggling with the same things I had been struggling with when I began in the spring. Condemning myself for my lack of self-control, fear that I will gain all of my weight back, and feeling depressed and angry about it all.
In her book Made to Crave- Satisfying Your Deepest Desire with God, Not Food Lysa TerKeurst talks about the truths in Gods word that can fill our hearts when these lies we tell ourselves creep in. www.madetocrave.org
Old Lie: I am such a failure with this healthy eating thing. Why sacrifice this instant gratification now when I know eventually I'll just go back to my old habits anyhow?
New Truth: I am not a failure. I am lavishly loved child of God. Part of my right as a child of God is to operate in a power beyond myself. The Holy Spirit is God's gift to me so it is possible for me to use the self-control I've been given.
Favorite Verse: " How great is the love that the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!" (John 3:1)
The thing about me is when I get angry enough I get determined! So embracing this "truth" I was determined to use my God given self-control, find balance, and figure out this nutrition stuff . I began soaking in everything I could about nutrition and learning how to create healthy diet plans. Thanks to my friend and trainer Heather, she was willing to share her wealth of knowledge on the subject. I also checked out a few books at the library, connected with health related Facebook pages, and read nutrition articles.
So now I'm on my way. Everyday I'm learning new things. My ultimate goal is to get a Certification in Nutrition, but for now I have started writing a few diet/meal plans including my own under the mentor-ship of Heather and doing pretty well with it. I am officially a nutrition NERD! I actually enjoy writing out meal plans. I am so excited to see where God takes me from here. My cravings haven't disappeared but I feel like I have a little more self-control. So then my journey continues!
If you struggle, I would love to hear how you deal with your struggles with food. Comment below or email me mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Oh and just a note.......! In my first week of my new diet plan I lost 5lbs! And I'm back in the Gym on a regular basis (well when the snow doesn't interfere).