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Health is a Journey
I’m thirty-six years old. I’ve got a wonderful husband, fabulous kids, and once upon a time I had rotten health.
Over a decade of battling an eating disorder followed by four pregnancies (the last one being by far the most challenging) and two adoption journeys, moving to a new home, and just dealing with life had left me pretty exhausted. Even though I ate well, exercised, and tried to get enough sleep, my weight loss had stalled and I was feeling very defeated.
Have you been there? It’s such a sad place to me.
I felt like everything I was doing was utterly pointless. I prayed, I ate right, I worked out, and I even went to bed earlier. My life had changed, but the number on the stale was stubbornly stagnant.
Have you been there? What do you even do when all the right things aren’t giving you the right results?
You do them anyway. And you look hard in the mirror and tell yourself the truth.
Which isn’t always easy. Sometimes it seems as though nothing seems to work. And if it isn’t working, why do it, right? Well, because it’s the right thing to do. Because it shows your children that taking care of yourself is important. Because it reminds you that you matter, too. If you’re anything like me, you forget that sometimes.
So here’s what to do when nothing seems to work (or at least, here’s what I did):
1. Nourish Your Soul: Prayer & Gratitude
Read the Bible, talk to God, and Him for His help. Girl, you know how hard it is to have will power in your own strength! My ability to master my own weaknesses left much to be desired, but I found lavish grace whenever I prayed. You will, too. God’s a good Father like that.
Also, keep a gratitude journal. Brain studies actually prove that thankful mindsets translate to better brain function and healthier bodies. God has known this all along and tells us in the Bible that a happy heart is like medicine for the body, while complaining is like cancer to your bones (Proverbs 17:22, my paraphrase). Take time each day to jot down 5 things you are thankful for and be amazed at how that simple task changes things.
2. Nourish Your Body: Fill It With Good Things
We all have different definitions of what eating well means, but I define it as eating whole foods and avoiding chemicals and dyes. My kids are the reason I started down that path about 8 years ago now, and we’re all better for it.
Maybe you’re like me, though, and just eating healthy foods isn’t enough to trim down and meet your goals. Have you heard of Trim Healthy Mama? When I started following their plan (still eating whole foods, just intentionally shaping my meals to fit their guidelines) I lost 30 pounds in about 6 months. And then nothing. I have kept with it because I know it is right for my body, though, and I can’t imagine ever changing that. Eat the way that you know is right for your body, because wise choices are wise even when the results aren’t coming.
Eating well wasn’t enough to heal and grow and maintain health, however; our food just isn’t as nutrient rich as it used to be. I take the best multivitamin and probiotic I could find, take a plant-based omega supplement, and have replaced my pain reliever with an all natural alternative called Ease. What supplements do you need to take? Don’t be afraid to invest in your health here, either. When we’re healing our bodies, we may need to add vitamins and minerals to help us keep healing.
Just like most of us, I did really well when I first started and the pants were getting baggier each week. My challenge came when the weight loss stalled, my energy flagged, and I started to let up instead of dig in.
I was full steam ahead as long as I lost weight, when my only focus was losing. When the weight loss wasn’t happening, however, it became easy to compromise. Why? Because that was my focus and if it wasn’t happening, then what could it hurt to cheat, right?
But here’s what I learned: Sometimes, when nothing seems to work, you just do it because it’s the best thing to do no matter what results you see on the outside. I want to encourage you, if you’re doing the hard work and making the right choices, let your health be your reward.
3. Strengthen Your Body: get moving!
Yup, you gotta do it for well rounded health. I’ve heard it said that exercise determines how strong you are, and diet determines who sees it. This really is true; diet and exercise are partners that bring out the best in each other.
If you don’t already have an exercise program you love, I’d like to suggest T-Tapp. I found it 3 years ago and I’ll never go back to anything else ever again, because T-Tapp has helped rehabilitate my bulging disc, my bad knee, and even helped eliminate my headaches. My first week using T-Tapp and working out just 4 times, I lost 10″ from around my body. You can imagine, I was hooked!
If you like yoga, do it. Is walking your thing? Do it! Whatever it is that gets you moving, do it. Your body and your spirits will thank you for the effort.
Own Your Health, Love Yourself
Loving yourself is hard, but it’s so important. And owning your health is part of loving yourself. When you own your health, you don’t feel deprived; you feel empowered. You feel special.
Whenever my husband does something special for me, I feel loved. When my kids do something special for me, I feel loved. Every time God pours out His lavish blessings on our family time and time again, I feel loved. But it’s taken me thirty-four years to realize that I can love myself, too.
It’s okay for you to eat well, to take the time to exercise, and to invest in your own health. Instead of feeling guilty, you should feel loved.
And whey you love someone, you tell them the truth, right? So let’s get real. This won’t work if we’re not. Let’s admit that saying we don’t have to time to make healthy meals really means that they just aren’t as much of a priority as whatever else we’re spending time on. Let’s admitting that not working out means we don’t really want to be in good shape; we just want to want to.
And let’s admit that one “cheat”, one bad choice or one day off, isn’t just one cheat.
It’s part of a cycle of putting self gratification before healing and it has to stop. You see, I thought I was eating right, exercising, and making wise choices. But the blunt truth is that I planned to do those things and kept making excuses for why I was making exceptions “just this one time” and started a whole lifestyle that I wouldn’t even admit I had. Honestly assess where you are at and tell yourself the truth about it.
So what do you do when nothing seems to work as you try to regain your health?
You get real. You pray, you eat right, you exercise, and you stop making excuses and exceptions. Just do it. And you give yourself grace for the times that you fail at it, because inevitably they come. But you don’t welcome them, plan for them, or hide behind excuses.
Sweet Sister, you and I are worth it. We need to be healthy to care for our families. We need to lean on God and make wise choices to be able to love our husbands and children with the best of our abilities. It’s okay to say “yes” to taking care of yourself.