Real, Raw Honesty on Health
Fitness and nutrition is important. I firmly believe that and it’s something the Lord has pressed on my heart as a passion and way to encourage women, especially when it comes to having the energy and lifestyle to press into God’s calling to be disciples, love people, and make His name famous.
Unfortunately, sometimes it gets taken a little too far, and that’s where I’ve found myself in the past week.
The Background: As a competitive swimmer, up until 2012, I didn’t always eat healthy because I was training so many hours a day and in between practice I was walking from class to class so burgers, bags of potato chips, ice cream, and salads with all the dressing and cheese were a norm. My senior year I made the decision to go gluten free for several different reasons, but it kept me fit and trim and I felt great during my last season of competition. I was eating less processed sugar, but my portions and substitutes helped me to maintain my fitness.Shocking I know, but that didn’t really change when the swimming ended, and while still exercising it was in much smaller quantities and intensities so needless to say I gained several pounds.
In 2014, the realization hit me that continuing on in that lifestyle wasn’t going to be the best so I made some changes to my overall fitness by ramping up my workouts, running regularly, and setting some competition goals. Some of the weight came off, but there were still some bad decisions I was making from a nutrition standpoint.
In 2015, during Jon and I’s engagement and right after we got married the personal decision was made to strictly be gluten-free because of the way it made me feel, however alongside that came a bigger drive to set more and more running goals and I began to train and compete regularly.
The weight dropped to a place of confidence, not quite as much as my peak swimming competition weight because of the lack of muscle (weights are a regular part of my training, but not so much on the Olympic lifts side like in college), I felt trim and fit and full of energy.
The Problem: Challenging my body has been a normal part of my life, goal setting has been normal however the adjustment to make those new goals a reality hasn’t always clicked for me. Especially because I live an active lifestyle outside of running, adjustment in nutrition is key and it hasn’t happened.
The other element – I don’t keep a scale. My family has a history of eating disorders and the realization that it can be an unhealthy obsession is understood. However, a few weeks ago fatigue hit me hard and finding myself consistently irritable began to cause me slight anxiety. Then there was sickness, after not having been really sick in over 3 years. Then the mirror became overwhelming – there wasn’t much left.
So: A quick login to Amazon Prime, a comparison of the best scales and 2 days later there was one at my doorstep (really amazing how that works). Stepping on that scale brought sadness, tears, anger, and disappointment. Why? I wasn’t healthy anymore, I wasn’t fit, my body was starting to shut down and I better act fast if I wanted to keep running, competing, and living life. It made me sad that I had stopped treating my body as a temple, gone far past what health was, and it took repentance of not stewarding the body and passion that God had given me well.
What Now: It’s writing out tangible goals to improve, it’s having Jon and family come around and hold me accountable, it’s having girls that are aware of my training and overall fitness come around me in prayer. It’s celebrating the small wins (aka fixing myself a double portion of breakfast the other day), and surrendering the anxiety that can come from watching the number on the scale increase at the foot of the cross.
Why Am I Writing This: Because vulnerability is tough, and as a woman we struggle with so many things in relation to fitness, health, body image, living, the list goes on and on, but it’s ultimately living a life for Christ that’s it in it’s most simplistic form! Being a disciple, loving others, and making His name famous. And yes treating your body is crucial in doing that to the fullest but it goes BOTH WAYS! So whatever you are struggling with today, you are beautiful, you are loved, and you are being prayed for by me even if you have no one else. Shoot for Jesus and don’t obsess from right to left just straight on towards Jesus!