Facing the "E" word

Yo-yo-ing is the best way to describe my health and fitness journey.  I have spent years outsmarting my love of foods and disdain for exercise with clever little tricks, but they always leave me in a state of flux. I have to tell you, thankfully and gratefully, my parents did a wonderful job of helping me with my sense of self, and thus I arrived in the real world feeling pretty cute and loved. I realize many women do not share that particular part of my story and my heart aches for those who simply cannot see how beautiful God created them to be. But for me, I truly do not struggle on a regular basis with body image. Oh sure, every so often while shopping under fluorescent lights I begin to panic over some trouble spot I notice. But I generally think, “hey- not bad for 38 and three kids….” when looking in the mirror, and since I am not a perfectionist, “not bad” is good enough for me! As a result, after giving birth to my third baby, I had a considerable amount of unneeded weight left over. (I ate an inordinate amount of fast food during that pregnancy. I have never been that tired in my whole life and I napped every day from 3-5pm so we ate out a lot! Terrible but true.)  The truth is, without appearance as a motivator, I tend to make unhealthy choices. I love rich, cheesy, salty food. I love chocolate. I love flavored coffee creamer and Indian food and ice cream. I also deeply dislike exercise. I was never an athlete, and not for lack of effort. There were way too many “last picks” for the kick ball team in my childhood due to my general lack of athletic ability, and plus I just don’t like getting sweaty. Or getting hit by balls. (whoever named it a softball obviously never got hit in the eye with one!) Bottom line, I am not set up internally to age well without an intervention. After the third baby, I decided it was time to shed the extra and worked out faithfully for a year with a friend at the YMCA. I was an elliptical queen. Once I was down to a reasonable size for good health and personal comfort, I made a decision. Throw out all the bigger sized clothes AND never buy a bigger size again. When the clothes stop fitting, time to watch the calories for awhile. And since I truly loathe the feeling of being a sausage stuffed into my clothing, this is a boundary that has worked for weight management for 7+ years. However, recently I’m coming to the conclusion that this boundary isn’t really working wonders for my overall health. While it does keep me in a healthy range which is one factor in wellness, it really doesn’t do much else. No heart health, no muscle tone, no flexibility and no endurance. Annoying, but true. It seems as I have my eye on 40, I am going to have to face my dread and found a boundary that I can live with regarding exercise. Sigh.

This past week at work during our staff meeting we were all sharing something God was showing us in our lives right now. (perks of working at a christian counseling center!) I was talking about how I am becoming aware that God wants me to be thankful for his providence in each situation I face. For a time at work, I was low on hours (equaling low on money) and I kept asking God to fill my schedule. Now I am slammed crazy busy, and I am asking God for time. Instead of seeing that low hours was His provision of time in my life, and busy schedule is His provision of finances. So in keeping with that theme, I’m asking God how my lack of love for fitness IS His provision in some way…… Here is what I see so far: it is his provision for growth in self discipline, and for humility. (These are not areas I am ever really excited to grow in mind you….) So friends I shall keep you posted on how I proceed into the new realm of being active, or something like it. And more interestingly, how God shows me Himself in that.

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