As I prepare for my first competition, I am learning something new everyday. Cutting calories and denying the flesh is HARD (but it’s worth it). Cutting calories for 3 months in a row, logging every single thing that hits my lips (including my 5 calorie gum!) has been exhausting and challenging (but it’s worth it). Dieting 7 days a week, not 4, not 5, not 6, but 7 days a week, for weeks on end has been brutal (but worth it). Going from 18% body fat to 12% body fat (and still dropping!!!) reminds me it’s not for nothing, I am making progress (so, again, it’s worth it).
A few days ago I realized I needed to take my dieting up another notch to break another plateau. I flinched in anticipation of additional struggles, temptations and possible failures. Then I realized this: For some odd reason, I feel God wanted me to step out of my comfort zone to do this dang competition. I would have GLADLY bowed out if He even gave me one inkling of disapproval or a closed door. Instead, it was the opposite. Doors swung wide open, support came, confirmation begun. I began doing it (whining a little as I went – ok whining a LOT! lol), but I’m determined to be obedient. Yes, God. OK, if you say so.
But why in the world does God give a flip about my body fat or me being in a teensy-weensy bikini? Really? As always, His ways are not my ways and I don’t doubt for a second there is a bigger purpose than getting on stage. What am I supposed to learn? How can God use me – backstage, during the training, with our team? These questions are not answered yet, but I have peace I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and waiting for God to fill in the mysterious blanks, even though there is no part of me that wants to be on stage in a bikini in high heels. Talk about awkward!
Maybe it’s for no one but me. For me to learn more about me, and more about relying on him. To learn how to fight the flesh – with both of my tongues; the one that desires food and the one that spews out mean things when I’m grumpy and short-tempered from the training and dieting. Yes, thank you God for pointing out how just out of control my flesh really is. I see I have a lot more work to do.
Now, going back to cutting calories more: I remembered the scripture “Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people” Colossians 3:23. It was this scripture that reminded me who I’m really doing this for. While Steve is the one who really wanted me to do this with him, it was ultimately up to God – and He said Go. So, in reality, I’m doing it for Him. Really? A fitness competition? Scripture doesn’t say “whatever churchy things you do, work at it wholeheartedely”, It says “whatEVER” you do – all of it, EVERYTHING! Yes, even this competition.
That really took things up a notch for me. Christians aren’t whoosies. He deserves my best. I don’t want to be the lame fat chick up there who obviously let my flesh rule me. What a poor representation of God’s power in my life. I’m not giving my best for a trophy, or to get praise from judges or the crowd, but I’m doing it because (for some ridiculous reason) He has called me to this so I am to give my 100%.
Maybe I am supposed to understand what hunger is so I can relate better to clients. Maybe it is so I can understand the pressures of being tempted to enjoy the praise of people, and to be reminded the only praise I need is from God. Maybe it’s for a job opportunity. Maybe it’s just to experience this together with my husband, to draw us closer, to work through our “hangry” arguments from our short-tempered disputes from being low on calories – that might expose stuff in us that we need to continue working on. (God knows I sure have had some ugly come out lately, and it’s made me draw nearer to the Lord in the process).
One thing I know is God can use all of us in EVERY part of our life. Whether in a competition or in a stock room. Whether surfing or singing. No matter how great you are at something, to keep God first – it says a lot. Anyone can run to God when things are tough, or when their life is a failure – but to succeed, to get praise of men and STILL say “that’s great, but I care about only one thing, that I can get to heaven and God say “well done my good and faithful servant” – now THAT’s what I want. The praise of one. My trophy is in heaven.
If you compete, already decide ahead of time, it doesn’t matter what the judges think. That’s merely men’s opinion. Don’t get me wrong, caring what people think about me and fighting my own vanity is just as much a struggle for me as it is to restrict calories or hold my tongue when hurt. However, it’s not a fight I plan to give up on. It’s a lifetime battle – fighting the flesh in every way. So, just as everything else you do in this life, choose to train and diet as if you are doing it for God Himself. I also remind you, He can see if you are cheating or lying to your trainer about what you eat. #JustSaying ;)
You are more than a competitor. You are more than 4th place. You are even more than 1st place. Do not let the crowd’s reaction define who you are. If you compete, use it to fuel you to reach a goal, but realize life is more than looks, body fat or attention. You will get much better, more honorable attention, by living a pure life, an unselfish life, and a life full of love for others. While fitness can be a very vain community if you let it, keep your eyes on eternity and you won’t get caught up in the body-focused world of fitness, but the health-focused self-improvement world of fitness. Work constantly to improve who you are – inside AND out. Remember, your body will shrivel up and eventually not be very attractive, but your spirit can remain beautiful your whole life if you keep your priorities right!
Remember what I posted a year ago – “It would be a shame to work so hard to be fit for this world, and be unfit for the king.”
If you don’t think God has an opinion on fitness and training. Think again! Here’s a great scripture that warns us about bodily training…
“While bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in EVERY WAY, as it holds promise for the PRESENT life and also the life TO COME.” 1 Timothy 4:8
“Why her? Why does she look so good? Why does it seem so easy for her? We do the same workout and she drops fat like it’s nothing. I workout harder. I’m stronger. I’m faster. I’m better. Maybe it’s her genetics. Maybe she has a faster metabolism. Maybe it’s her supplements. Do you think she is doing steroids? Do you think she has “help”? Maybe the doctor is giving her something to help her get faster results. Maybe I need to see my doctor. Maybe my body just doesn’t work like hers. Maybe it’s my thyroid. Maybe I’ll never be able to look like that.”
This is one downward spiral fueled by an unrealistic negative mindset that is focused on blaming on ANYone else but yourself. We can’t judge a person by what they do in the gym. It’s an hour a day. Have you ever thought that it could be what she is doing the other 23 hours a day that’s getting her the results you want?
I see this in boot camp all the time. People do the same exact workout. They get the same information, yet one person loses 30lbs and gets shredded while their BFF leaves the same weight as they started. Did the BFF lose fat and gain muscle? Probably. But did they radically change like their friend? No. Why? It wasn’t what they did in the gym. It was what they weren’t doing when they left.
Think of it this way. We all know going to church won’t get you to heaven. There have been plenty of criminals who have gone to church. They might have even served as a deacon. They could have had the best intentions. They might have gone down to the front, or raised their hand, to say they wanted to change. They might have cried buckets of tears in complete misery with how they were living life, begging God to help them to change. They could have attended every service, gone to every Bible Study, and did everything other church members did, but their life would NEVER change if they didn’t change the way they lived OUTSIDE the church. That would require surrender. It requires discipline. It requires perseverance. It requires a lifestyle change.
Transformation requires DOING not just HEARING. We teach our fitness competitors the SAME stuff we teach our boot campers and clients. Some reach their fullest potential and some never even scratch the surface. Why? Like with church, the “message” is the same. My pastor is giving the same message to 4 different services, and hundreds of people. Each time his words penetrate our hearts and we take it home and practice it (practice also means we try and fail, and we keep trying anyway).
Our life is not the same as it was the first time we showed up. Our lives are being transformed – and we are not alone. I’ve seen radical life changes – HUGE transformations. So why isn’t EVERYONE that goes to our church having these same awesome experiences as we are? Because the keep going right back to the same way they are living, without applying what they are hearing. They expect to magically be transformed by the one-hour spiritual workout a week – and they fail.
I’ve gone to church all my life. I failed in life when I quit applying what I’ve learned at HOME. It’s not what I do at church or the gym that transforms my life. My workouts are almost the exact same now as they were when I was 20lbs heavier. What changed is what I was putting in to my body on a daily basis. It’s the consistency of eating clean and denying the flesh what it craves (chips and salsa, cookies, overeating, snacking, etc). If I eat junk, I’ll look like junk. If I eat too much, I’m going to weigh too much. If I eat clean, I will look lean. If I eat healthy, I will feel healthy. What I put in my body (and soul) absolutely has a radical affect on my life.
If you want to transform your life – whether physically or spiritually, you have to quit feeding your flesh (quit literally feeding your body the things it wants opposed to the things it needs – both physically and spiritually). You need to do more than rely on a Sunday message or a motivational mantra. It takes more than “good works” or a good workout. It takes a life change – 24 hours a day. Will you fail? Heck yeah – and you will STILL be SO much better off trying.
No more complacency.
No more pointing the finger.
No more excuses.
Recently I was listening to a message about Joseph, the coat of many colors guy who was sold to slavery and raised up to leadership. He was a loyal worker, and had great favor where ever he went. It also said he was EXTREMELY handsome. As a result, his boss’s wife tried to seduce him. His response was “How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God“. This may not seem like a big statement here, but how many times do we respond to doing something wrong with calling it what it really is?
Joseph not only saw it wasn’t right, but he saw just how seriously wrong it was – not just that it wasn’t right to do to his boss, but he saw how it wasn’t right to do to God. Talk about taking things up a notch!
What if we were to be more truthful with our struggles, thoughts and actions? What if we started being more honest with ourself and with others? I believe in my heart, we let things (problems) linger in our life because we never really truly address them in truth.
There needs to be a time when we all look in the mirror and we face the things we try to run from. Here are a few examples:
I can’t lose weight.
Am I really doing everything I can do?
I probably should cut back the wine.
Am I an alcoholic?
I need more time and money.
Am I using my time and money wisely?
I don’t want to join a gym.
Am I letting my pride get in the way of my health?
I just really like her/him a lot.
I am married and I am fighting an attraction which is wrong and will never be right.
I eat really healthy.
Could I still be eating too much?
I love food.
Am I letting food control me?
You fill in the blanks…..
We all have our issues and our demons we must face. For Joseph, it was a constant pursuing of his boss’s wife – even when he was doing all the right things. BUT, he never gave into temptation because he never stopped seeing it for what it was.
I challenge you today to face your struggles head on, write them down, talk about them with someone you love and trust. You can never win a battle you never admit you are having. :)
People aren’t just born awesome, they decide to TRY to be awesome – and with practice, they become more awesome every day. Fear is the #1 roadblock to greatness. They don’t let fear stop them from dreaming, trying or quitting. They recognize there is a risk on the quest for greatness. Your “greatness” maybe being a great mom, the healthiest you, a successful career person, a person who dedicates their life to making a difference. I’m not talking about money or power, I’m talking about being the best you can be. The healthiest you, the strongest you, the best you.
Sure you may fail. You may feel embarrassed. You may not get the results you want fast enough. You may not be the greatest on the planet, but I guarantee you, if you TRY you will be better than you ever could be without trying. What you should really fear is never trying to find out what you could do and who you could be if you don’t let fear get in the way.
Is what you are doing right now stretching you? Are you a little uncomfortable? Are you are little scared? Are you pushing your body. Are you challenging yourself with good habits and discipline? Are you depriving yourself of the temporary to be better longterm? If you aren’t doing these things, you will never see your very best. You will never become the best you possible.
Get ready to be motivated and be ready to take your life to the next level – more commitment, more confidence, more determination, more dedication, more perseverance. You. Can. Do. This!
I’ve been off my “diet” (AKA: Eating clean) for a month or so now. We’ve been staying pretty strict over the last year and wanted to take a break, and just have a little fun. (That even just sounds dumb already! Like we can’t have fun without a burger and ice cream?) Anyway, our plan was to start dieting again after July 4th. Monday, July 7th was the day to kick it back into high gear – but seriously, I just couldn’t wait. I couldn’t stand how I felt one more second!
I was so sick of feeling crappy, flabby and lazy. I had it up to my eyeballs in high-calorie food. 80% of the food I ordered I didn’t even really like that much. It was like I was on the search for something to satisfy my tastebuds in some special way. I almost boycotted salads because I can have those every day when I’m eating clean. I tried to squeeze in every food item I normally limit – and what a let down! Then, I thought “I really like the way eating clean tastes and makes me feel. So WHY OH WHY do I want to eat garbage?”
Don’t get me wrong, an occasional burger is no biggie, but hot wings one day, pizza the next, and ice cream too – that’s just dumb. Crappy food makes me feel crappy. It has no real fuel and nutrients to energize me so I am also more tired and less likely to workout. It’s double dumb! Yet, when I eat clean most of the time and have a small treat, it’s awesome. It’s not enough to make me feel bad and it’s just enough to satisfy a craving. That’s smart. So, why can’t I always be smart? I think it’s because we feel like we are missing something. How stupid is THAT!
When we are dieting, we aren’t missing anything worth missing. It’s when we are eating poorly, we are really missing out. We are missing out on feeling awesome in our clothes, as well as feeling energized to really LIVE and have fun. Our confidence is better, we are stronger, we are happier, we are more apt to do stuff we wouldn’t do when we feel fat and ugly (like go to the beach or wear a fitted dress). We don’t mind being in pictures, we are more positive to be around and aren’t as depressed. That’s not worth missing. Eating pizza and feeling like a big greasy slob afterwards? That’s worth missing!
So, the next time you feel like you are missing something when you are dieting, remember no chocolate in the world is worth what you’d be missing if you weren’t dieting & exercising! Making poor choices is trading the positive effects of healthy living for a temporary pleasure. It’s ain’t worth it – and it’s just plain dumb!
Let’s eat smarter!!
Before you can set goals, before you can change your ways, before you make any big decisions, before you commit to anything, there is something you must do first. You must consider the cost. Then, you weigh the cost with the reward.
Most people fail because they are too focused on the reward to consider the cost. They don’t dig deep enough to find out exactly what sacrifices are required. They jump in blindly ready to get the reward, without really being prepared for the work. As a result they fail, they quit or they get fired, divorced or unfriended.
How many times do we see this is the job place? People seem so excited to get a job, to get the paycheck, to enjoy the benefits….but they seem shocked they have to do a job – as if they had no clue they’d be expected to actually work for the pay.
You see it in the marriage. People love the idea of being loved, but forget there is a cost. Is it worth it? Heck yeah!!!! But, sadly, many people never really, REALLY think about what will be expected of them if they want to continue to be loved “til death do us part”.
When it comes to fitness, there is also a cost. Being fit costs time. It normally cost some amount of money. It may even cost you relationships (typically unhealthy ones you don’t need anyway). It will likely cost your favorite food fix, giving up a few bad habits and it the price of hard work. Sacrifices must be made. The question you have to ask yourself is “are you willing to make the sacrifice to get the reward?”.
David (in 1 Chronicles) was smart and understood true sacrifice. After he screwed up big time, he desired to pay full price for the sacrifice he was going to give to the Lord. Even after being offered a gift, he insisted on paying FULL price. I believe we should have that type of desire in everything we do. We should live in a way where we aren’t always looking for shortcuts all the time, but we are looking on ways we can pay in full – and be excited to do it.
As we say in the fitness world, EARN IT. Not that we can ever earn God’s forgiveness or love, there is something to say about how good it feels to earn our pay and to earn our good health. Even as a Christian, it’s great to know we are doing the right thing. It’s the earning process that is the learning process.
If we mess up, we need to accept it fully, and be willing to pay for our mistake in FULL. If we ate too much, if we were lazy and if we were irresponsible, we deserve where we are and we should be OK with paying for it. Anything else would be cheating (like David felt).
We can’t expect to fix a mistake without cost. We also can’t expect there not to be repercussions to our mistake and act surprised or irritated when we face them. We can’t expect to have someone else fix us. We can’t keep trying to find someone, or something, to take the blame.
We must be willing to pay full price for our mistakes. We must embrace the work, realizing it’s the work that will make us proud. It’s the hard work that will grow our character and shape us into the person God desires us to be. Short cuts cut corners, including cutting out important part of our personal growth. Not only that, they rarely work.
Insist on paying full price!
Seriously, this is SO ME! As I lay in bed, I think of all the things I should have done and need to do the next day. I think of what I will do better and what I will quit doing. I reflect on both my failures and my successes. Since snacking at night is always a struggle, many nights I think “I blew it”. Sometimes it’s me fussing over 100 extra calories, sometimes it’s 500! Either way, as I lay there, I begin to imagine me burning them off.
I imagine waking up more motivated, strong and disciplined. Honestly, if I could run at night (Yes, technically I can run at night, but I don’t like running in the dark, and it IS bedtime, etc. Just humor me here!)… If I could run at night, I would bolt out of the house like lightening. (Of course this is just my imagination. I’m sure it wouldn’t look like I picture it in my head. Needless to say, I fall asleep thinking I will make it all better in the morning. My pulse even increases. I get excited. I get motivated. I picture myself extra determined and really disciplined. I remember how great it feels to run and how awesome I feel when I stay disciplined. I decide right then that I will start my day off right and I will erase those dang calories tomorrow! Yessss!!!
Now that I have a solid plan in place, I can rest. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Then I wake up. Ut Oh! Where did that girl go!? Where’s the girl that was ready to leap out of bed right into her running shoes? Yes, that girl! Where is she? Have you seen her? Maybe I’ll have a cup of coffee and give her some time to show up. Still no where to be found? OK, maybe I’ll have another cup of coffee. Hmmmmm. Maybe she’s waiting for me outside.
Time to put my running shoes on and go find her. Yes, I must search for her. She is out there somewhere. I can’t wait on her to show up. My results can’t depend on her. I must find her. I will go. I will chase her down. And, every morning I will search for her. Eventually I will find her. Eventually she will show. But until then, I’m running – with or without her!!
We all have excuses why we can’t do certain things, or we why we are down on our luck, but we often act paralyzed when we really are just simply limited. The truth is, most of us have limitations. We just have learned to work around our limitations. Money is limited, time is limited, our abilities are limited. Some people are more limited than others, but we can ALL do something to improve.
Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, focus on what you CAN do. Sadly, people often think “if I can’t do it 100%, I won’t do it at all””. Do you have that attitude? That’s no way to live. A better attitude to have is “I may not be able to give 100% in comparison to others, but I can give it MY 100% right now – no matter what that looks like”.
Maybe you feel defeated if you can only workout 2 times a week so your tempted to not exercise at all. Maybe you have a physical limitation that is keeping you from the gym because you can’t do a full body workout, but could you work just part of your body? Maybe your body is able and your mind is willing, but you simply don’t know what to do. Do what you know you CAN do. The point is you can always do SOMETHING.
Make a list of things you CAN’T change right this minute that bring you down. Now make a list of things you CAN change that will improve your life, attitude, health and even your situation down the road. Start tackling that list. Do what you can with what you have. Even if you can’t change your situation, you can change you for your situation. As a result, your situation often changes too. :)
No More Excuses.
“When you want to give up, just think of the people who want to see you fail. Don’t give them that pleasure.”
This was a quote I posted on instagram yesterday, along with this text as I was thinking out loud: “Sometimes you don’t care about failing as long as you can fail privately. But when you realize there are people out there who would actually enjoy watching you fail, laugh at you behind your back and rejoice in your defeat, it’s sometimes just what you need to make you mad enough, hurt deep enough and become determined enough to do whatever it takes to not give them that pleasure! So instead. While it really doesn’t matter what they think, you can use the very thing they mean for harm to fuel you to succeed. So go ahead and hate on me and wish me harm or failure, because it’s exactly what I need to go one more rep, one more step, one more try.”
Later last night, Steve and I had a long chat about this. First, we both agree that you should lose weight, be healthy or try to reach your goals for YOURSELF. Not to prove a point, not to do it for your spouse or not to do it because someone is making you. No. The first reason we work on our fitness is for our OWN good. Agreed?
Fear of Failure or Fuel for Success?
So, the next question was “if you shouldn’t care about what people think, is it wrong to use what they think to fuel you to succeed?” Personally, I don’t think so – as long as you can use it (within reason) for a positive, healthy result.
I know good and well I should care less what people think. We all have haters. No matter how nice you are or how “good” you are, people will dislike you, wish you failure and be happy if you don’t succeed. Why? It stems from jealousy. If you succeed, it is just a reminder of what they could do or have if they tried as hard as you did. When people feel bad about themselves, they don’t want to be around people who actually are happy, healthy or successful. OR, if it’s a rival, sometimes it’s simply because they want all the attention and want to stay on top. Either way, since you will always have these people in your life, you can decide now what type of response you will have. You can A: ignore them (not a bad idea), B: resent them or C: benefit from them. I choose either A or C (depending on the person or situation).
Most of the time I use it to fuel me, to hold me accountable, and to stretch me to do more than I am willing to do. I am extremely lazy by nature. I was born with one extra big lazy bone. While some areas are easy for me to succeed, other areas (like discipline and physical labor) are challenging. So, I have to figure out ways to push myself, to motivate myself and to keep myself pressing forward to my goal. How do I do that? I use one of my character flaws to actually bring about good in my life.
Say hello to pride.
Pride: Good or Bad
Webster defines it as: “a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one’s own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.” There you have it. Pride. Yuck!
Pride is typically referred to as a very negative characteristic, and it’s something I am not proud of at all (no pun intended lol). I can’t particularly say I get deep satisfaction from my own achievements, however I can admit I get deep dissatisfaction with failure. I HATE to fail – so much so, I won’t even try something new if there is a risk of bombing at it. This is something I discovered recently and am working to improve. I am not perfect so I don’t know why I have such high expectations of myself, but I do. Always have.
“It is not good to eat much honey, nor is it glorious to seek one’s own glory.” Proverbs 25:27
I believe it is healthy and normal to have a certain amount of pride and have those proud moments. I can be proud of an accomplishment or take pride in my work. However, if I am full of pride and haughtiness, I think that’s totally wrong. (When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. Proverbs 11:2). Webster choose these synonyms for prideful: disdainful, haughty, lofty, lordly, superior. And the main antonym for prideful is humble. Another words, you can’t be prideful and humble at the same time, so it’s something you really have to keep in check.
Just like it’s wrong to eat too much “honey” (AKA: food), you can have too much pride. If I’m careful to manage my pride and not focus on the selfish victorious feeling (that deep satisfaction Webster talks about), I can use the very thing that is meant for bad to bring about good in my life. The same way it is not good to care what people think, we shouldn’t not care at all – to the point we lose our drive to be the best we can be. “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize” 1 Corinthians 9:24. The last thing God wants us to do is become complacent, and I think many people say “I don’t care what they think” as a way to stay complacent. Sure, don’t measure your self-worth based on what others think, but why not use their opinions to encourage self-examination and drive to become better?
Some people use competitions to drive them, some use weight loss contests to push them or they even reward themselves with money or shopping. I really don’t have a need to succeed big, I just don’t want to fail big. I love striving for goals, but they are regular normal goals – nothing insane, nothing flashy, just me trying to be the best me.
One of the things that drives me is knowing people are counting on me to lead by practicing what I preach. I also know there are people are counting on me to fail. Even Joyce Meyer uses Satan’s desire to ruin her day or damage her ministry to fuel her to do what’s right in good. She calls it giving Satan a ultimate black eye. I love it! Whatever you choose to use to drive you, we could all use a little more accountability.
What drives you? What gets under your skin? What pushes YOU to succeed? Do you train for a race? Do you work towards hitting the stage? Do you exercise to improve skill and compete in physical competitions like CrossFit games or mud runs? Or do you let those nasty mean coworkers of yours fuel you to keep showing up even though they’ve already made fun of your dieting, already reminded you of how many times you failed, told you of all their friends who have “tried that” and it didn’t work, and taunt you with chocolate and fast food? There’s no wrong answer here. You just have to figure out what you need to use to push you to improve and not give up. :)
But as you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in all earnestness, and in our love for you—see that you excel in this act of grace also. 2 Corinthians 8:7
I think of all the people who have tried to get fit for YEARS and failed. THEN, they decide to join one more gym, do one more boot camp, hire one more trainer, try one more diet program, take one more class, do one more fitness program, join one more support group, try one more time – and they SUCCEED!
What if they didn’t try one more time? They would have never known that success was just around one more corner.
I challenge you today to make it your goal, your mantra, your promise to yourself that you will never stop trying one more thing to help you get fit. Fitness rarely works for people on their first try. Everyone has to learn what they enjoy, learn how to train right and eat right and learn how to bounce back when they mess up – because everyone messes up.
I’ve seen WAY too many people who said “I’m not a gym person” turn into gym people. I’ve seen people who truly thought they’d never be able to lose weight lose 100lbs. I’ve seen elderly and feeble feel young and strong. Each one of them had to take the risk and try “one more time” – and it paid off.
Where are you in your fitness journey? Are you at a standstill? Are you in reverse? Are you questioning if you can ever reach your goals? Are you ready to give up? No matter where you are, remember…Just. One. More.