As life would have it, I am finding more and more of my true calling in this effort of writing, blogging and health coaching. It came to me a while ago, but I have realized that my Greater Purpose of this calling of writing these articles are not just for you (although I earnestly hope that you do get some sort of lesson or inspiration out of them) but really a lot of this calling is about ME and gaining some necessary wisdom in my life.
So, as it naturally happens, as I start to put pen-to-paper, or more aptly, fingers-to-keyboard, I start to expose more and more things that I need to focus on and work on.
As was the case when I started to write the blog last week that was just posted yesterday. I have always been so aware of the power that my husband’s and my history holds. I love our love story. I have fully embraced the convoluted, roller-coaster-ride of our history as part of what makes our relationship so powerful today!
I can fully embrace the imperfect ways that we tried and tried to get it (W)right to no avail only to finally, FINALLY, realize what was the missing issue the entire time ——-> BIG MAN himself, G.O.D.
I spoke yesterday that I clearly placed Howard and my relationship ahead of God when I would obsess and worry and try harder and harder.
And as I was journaling these thoughts in our story for yesterday, it all of a sudden hit me like a dagger right between my eyes.
“Consumed with thinking about it all day, everyday.”
“Obsessed with trying to be enough.”
“Trying harder and harder and holding on tighter and tighter.”
These are the EXACT phrases that I could easily put into place regarding my relationship with my body and food as well.
It’s not so shocking, of course, because I’ve already admitted to this behavior, especially when it was at it’s peak as I was training to do a bikini competition.
But I can admit now that these SAME feelings and obsession with my body were still very present when I was planning for my wedding. It was another BIG DAY and I had a lot self pressure to look the best I’ve ever looked, naturally.
I am proud of myself that I did NOT resort to extreme tactics this go round and still treated my body in a much more health-centered way.
But the truth is that mentally, I was just as consumed (if not more so) with worry and fret as I have been before. I hired not 1 but 2 health coaches myself, hired a personal trainer, logged my food every day, paid for extensive body fat measurements and the whole bit.
“Consumed with thinking about it all day, every day.”
“Obsessed with trying to be enough”
“Trying harder and harder and holding on tighter and tighter”
The results were just about the same as those 6-years of dating Howard. I could try as hard as I wanted but it wasn’t going to change much. I lost maybe 5 lbs and a few body fat % in the entire year that I was working toward my wedding body. For a WHOLE YEAR, with literally thousands of hours logged with worry, obsession and fret, and all I lost was a measly 5lbs.
(Can someone make a t-shirt with that on it perhaps? “I spent 1,000 of mental hours and 1,000 of dollars for this body and all I lost were these 5lbs?”)
Don’t get me wrong, I am quite pleased with how I looked on my wedding day, but I was a little exhausted that day too from all that build up and WORRY, which I have to admit was 80% about my BODY more than about the wedding itself! Also, don’t EVEN get me started on the fact that it took a full 10-minutes and 4 women to zip up my gosh darn dress?! How’s that for a confession?! UGHHHHHH. Literally, I. Can’t. Even.
But, I digress….
So, it’s been almost 6-months since my wedding day, and I have been trying to pinpoint this emotion that I’ve been feeling ever since.
For the first time, in a long time, I am not obsessing over my body, I am not logging my meals, I am not tracking every workout and measuring the # of calories I’m burning or consuming.
But all of this new behavior has me feeling a mix of emotions. I feel relief that I don’t have to obsess so much any more, and yet, I’m kind of sad and lost unsure of this new phase with my body and relationship food and workouts.
AND SO IT’S HIT ME……
I’m in the middle of a break-up!
It’s not the same as what it was when Howard and I broke-up because I can’t physically break-up with my body.
But I realize now that I’ve broken-up with the relationship I had with my body!
Subconsciously and now more consciously I have exposed that I STILL have a tendency to put many things (i.e. idols) ahead of my relationship with God . These tendencies seem to manifest themselves in my mind the exact same way.
I obsess, I worry, I try harder and yet it doesn’t produce the results I want.
But, for the first time ever, I am not treating my body the same way as I always have. I have some other things that are taking precedence (namely, my time with God, my husband and this business) over my workouts, body obsession and food.
This has meant that my workouts are much shorter (usually about 30 minutes, 3-4 days per week). I also don’t track my eating like I used to (simply because I don’t have time). I am not weighing myself very often at all. I am not even looking in the mirror as much anymore! It’s kinda just “weird” for me. It’s a me I don’t quite recognize and don’t know quite what to do with myself….as odd as that sounds!
This relationship I had with my body was around for much much longer than the relationship I had with Howard, so I’m expecting this break-up to take some time. And just like it was when he and I broke-up, I don’t know if I’m meant to get back together with that old me, or if I’m going to find a whole new relationship with my body that is a much better fit!
Either way, I know I’m at this in between phase of this break-up right now and I need to STAY IN THIS PHASE until I have clear direction.
THE POWER IN THIS BREAK-UP:
Now that I am conscious that I am in the middle of this “break-up” with the relationship with my body, I can offer you some insight into what this means for me. What I DON’T have is the actual lessons I’m going to learn. The reason is because I’m not over it yet and I’m feel as though I’m still healing.
But if you’re in this place with me, perhaps realizing that you too have a “bad relationship” with your body, food, or working out, then there ARE some things that I can offer. Things that I KNOW within my soul that are helping through this break-up phase.
1. Doubt Gives Way to Faith:
The power of our idols is incredibly strong. Everyday that I think I have a God-centered, “healthy” relationship with my body, I will all of a sudden find myself in the pantry binge eating some fruit clusters and other treats and then immediately feeling the affects of guilt and mental punishment the rest of the day. Sugar Addiction (or any food/drink/substance addiction) can be a very real idol that we serve before we serve God.
But what I know is that just when I doubt I will ever be strong enough to beat my sugar addiction, in comes these waves of Faith that I know that God is stronger than anything and everything in this world. I can put my trust and hope in God and He will help me beat this body idol and reengage in a new relationship with my body. I can remember all the other hard things I’ve had to give up (anyone read my WINE-O series?!) and how much God has truly pulled me through once I SURREND’hered it to Him.
2. Fulfillment comes from God alone:
Just like I had learned the hard way from my break-ups with Howard, I am seeing this pop-up again in my break-up with my old relationship with my body. I was trying to find fulfillment from my body and my health instead of truly finding fulfillment from God. I know that this break-up will serve as the necessary time for me to reengage with God as my sole provider. To SURREND’her more and more to Him. To truly make Him the center of ALL of my life, not just part-of my life.
3.These Feelings of “Falling Apart” are what is going to lead to the Spiritual Break-Through I need:
[Full Disclosure] I am very, very uncomfortable in this ‘break-up phase’ with my body. A large part of me feels like I’m really GIVING-UP on my body. I have fear that it’s going to all go down hill. I have so much guilt about not working out as much or dieting as hard core as I used to and fear that all this is going to lead me to be a big fat hypocrite on this forum of “speaking about health” all while looking chubby. I am still struggling daily with the feelings of how I should be “trying harder.”
But, what I’m doing about these fears is not “trying harder,” I’m just praying harder. I’m journaling a ton and praying all day long about this body and this life and asking God to use me in these new ways. To heal my mind and body and soul. I know this is exactly the right course.
I am encouraged by the signs that God is giving me for motivation to keep “praying through”. One such sign is from the book I keep talking about, The Circle Maker. The author Mark Batterson gave me a very strong reminder when he said, “If you want to experience a super natural break-through, you have to pray through. But as you get closer to the break-through it often feels like you’re about to lose control, about to fall apart. That is when you need to press in and pray through.”
Pressing-on and praying through is what I intend to do!
4. I’m Grateful for my Imperfections:
I can find joy and gratitude in every difficult thing that I encounter in life. My very struggles in life are the things that keep me leaning on God and keep me looking to Him more and more. My imperfections are the gateway to the true blessings that I’ll receive from this relationship I’m building with God. I know I will never be perfect and this battle with my body and with food will be a lifelong battle. But I can be grateful for that because it means that I will always stay close to God. I can “sacrifice of a thank offering to you and call on the name of the Lord” (Psalm 116:17)
5. I can Praise Him NOW for what will be:
I can also know that because I’m giving Him this problem He has already answered my prayer. He has already delivered me from this idol of my body and food and He has offered me a new relationship with my body that better serves my Greater Purpose. I can Praise Him for answering this prayer and just wait for this answer to be revealed to me. I know there will come a time and I’ll “just know” what direction to take and I’ll keep taking steps that He leads me. Thank you God for this.
So, while I do wish I had more answers for YOU I hope you don’t mind me opening up more about my struggles and how I’m really not much of an “expert” yet on how to enter into a healthy relationship with your body.
What I do encourage you to do is to self-assess your current relationship you have with your body too!
Q: How do you see your body?
Q: Do you put part of your quest for health or your body before God?
Q: What are the mental cues that recognize as your blocks (i.e. do you obsess, worry, avoid, abuse, or hate your body?).
Q: Can you find ways to use God in those areas and “pray-through” this barrier it plays in your heart and soul. Think of the best ways that you can give this to God (prayer, friends, journaling etc)
Also, I do I highly suggest reading The Circle Maker and journaling a lot more to expose some of your own idols in your life! It might not just be your body or health, it is likely quite a few things! Give them ALL UP! Keep SURREND’hering .
In Love and Healing,