Tag Archives: motivation

Who Keeps You Healthy?

A few weeks ago, I was approached by the American Recall Center and asked to participate in their latest campaign, “Who Keeps You Healthy?” which is a way for health bloggers, like myself, to share about the person in their lives that motivates and empowers them to be healthy. I was excited to participate in this campaign and began thinking of who in my life I would highlight in this post as the one who keeps me healthy.

My dog came to mind, because she is always eager to go for a walk, which often motivates me to get out in the fresh air. My parents have influenced my health by always having healthy, whole foods around their house and encouraging me to cook and bake since childhood. My fiancé helps me stay motivated to work out by going with me to the gym and always being up for a hike or jog at the park.  the beagle girl

However, as I thought more about all of the things that go into “keeping me healthy” I realized that the true credit for my health really goes to someone else.

I’ve been through quite a journey with my health, including a battle with anorexia, followed by binge eating, and then wrestling with poor body image for years. My weight has fluctuated a lot. I’ve gone through periods of restrictive “healthy” eating and periods of binge-ing on pizza and cookie dough. I’ve made tons of health resolutions, workout goals, and learned to give myself some grace along the way.

When it comes down to it, my health these days is the best it’s ever been, and I don’t say that lightly. I’ve thought I was healthy many times in the past during my eating disorder and subsequent recovery, and I often fooled myself. But the kind of health I am living out at this point in my life is not just a healthy BMI or number on the scale, it’s a health that encompasses my emotional and spiritual life as well.

1097965_392214087544816_872314355_nThere have been many times in the past several years of my journey where I was “doing all the right things” in terms of health, but I was unhappy, stressed, hating my body, and frustrated at not being able to control my appetite and cravings. I’ve come to learn that health is so much more than just eating the right foods or getting exercise every day.

Health to me means being happy with my body, focusing on things besides how many calories I’ve eaten since breakfast or whether I worked out enough this week.  In a lot of ways, health for me is measured by how LITTLE I think (or obsess) about my health. Health for me is having a career I love, being in a nurturing relationship, and finding time to enjoy hobbies and downtime. Health is taking time in the morning to pray and be at peace, and taking time to enjoy the little things each day. It’s getting enough sleep, and letting go of worry and learning to forgive. It’s knowing when to skip a workout and read a book in the sunshine instead.

My health journey has meant letting go in so many areas, and just living life with more joy and peace. Giving up my obsessions with being skinny, learning to eat ice cream again without guilt, and finding a balanced workout routine that energizes instead of exhausts me.

And I’m not saying I’ve “arrived” at the pinnacle of health, but I’ve made so much progress from where I used to be. There were a lot of people that helped me along the way, as I mentioned above. But in the end, it was only by God’s grace that I got through the hellish trenches of my eating disorder and made it to where I am today.

1474395_10201127367930761_1712911136_n And it doesn’t end here. There are still days where I feel fat or frustrated with the size of my body. Especially since getting engaged, there have been more frequent thoughts in my head taunting me to start a diet or design a new, intense workout plan to prepare for the big day. I’ve had moments where I questioned my evening bowl of ice cream or the occasional potato chip feasts with my fiancé while watching a movie. But then I hear another voice in my head and heart, telling me to remember how far I’ve come and the work it took to get here. Reminding me that even when I was a size 0 and obsessively in control of everything that went into my mouth, I wasn’t happy.

Even when I was the epitome of a “healthy eater,” I wasn’t actually healthy. I was emaciated and depressed.

1098478_392213077544917_769335534_nThere’s no doubt in my mind that God and His grace is what has enabled me to get healthy again. And it’s His voice in my heart that keeps me healthy, gently reminding me to embrace freedom and never look back.

I’m so thankful for the many friends and family members that have been there for me throughout my journey, and above all, the faithfulness of God to lead me where I am today.

For more information on the American Recall Center, check out their website here!

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Slush and Mud

In case you didn’t know, St Louis got quite a lot of snow this past Sunday! I’ve been told the official measurement at the airport was 13 inches, although some areas got as many as 16!  Regardless of the exact amount, snow on the ground turns running into a whole new ball game.

I’m not one of those maniacs hard-core runners who sees that a blizzard is coming in and decides it’s the perfect time to tie on the running shoes and head outside. No. When I hear there’s snow coming – be it 3 inches or 13 – I start to plan what kind of delicious foods I will enjoy on my warm couch while watching a movie…in my warm house. (cue popcorn and chocolate)

The day the snow arrives, and usually the day after, I take to the treadmill to knock out my miles. I’m not particularly fond of treadmills (except for speedwork) because I get incredibly bored after .3 miles, but it’s better than twisting my ankle on a patch of ice or face-planting in front my neighbor’s house. Desperate times call for desperate measures – and for me that means the treadmill.

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Sunny Day at Forest Park

Monday morning, with somewhere between 10-13 inches of snow outside, I headed to the basement and completed 4 miles of HIIT.

Tuesday morning, I woke up to sunshine and seemingly warmer temperatures. I debated about whether or not the snow would have melted off my favorite running paths by now, and decided to chance it. I was heading to Clayton for a meeting that morning so I threw my running clothes in the backseat and headed over to Forest Park when I was done.

Although I did encounter some pond-sized puddles at several points, most of the 6-mile outer loop was clear – at least from snow and ice. The sun was shining and it was a beautiful day for a run. I listened to a couple podcasts as I made my way around the park, and debated a short stop at the zoo as I passed it. I wish I lived just a little closer to Forest Park because I would definitely run there more often!

Gorgeous View at Queeny Park

Gorgeous View at Queeny Park

Wednesday, I decided to venture to yet another park and test my luck on its more “primitive” path. Sure enough, it was clear of most of the snow, but lots of slush and mud remained. My favorite. 😉 As I made my way around the loop, and noticed my shoes getting more and more soaked, I realized that running in mud and slush can actually be quite enjoyable. Or, maybe not enjoyable, as much as adventurous.

Something about hopping over puddles and strategically trying to avoid large patches of slush makes me feel like I could conquer the world. For a moment, I forget I’m 5 minutes from my house, at a small park in the middle of the suburbs, and instead I’m just out in nature, trying to survive keep my shoes as dry as possible.

There’s something satisfying about finishing a run, panting and sweating, and looking down to see mud caked all over your shins and shoes. Usually this is accompanied by soaked socks – which can be annoyingly chilling – but then I remember that I’m just a few minutes from home…complete with hot tea, dry socks, and a warm shower.

Happy Running!

Footprints in the snow

So, I’ve been thinking…

I feel like my mind is on the brink of explosion. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking the past several days, about a lot of different areas of my life. Mind is spinning.

It all began the day I was supposed to begin my internship in the event-planning field. I’d interviewed with an amazing lady who owns her own event-planning business, and she was ready to take me on as a short-term intern for the next few months. At first, I was thrilled about the idea, thinking, “This is something I’m actually excited to do! I’ve always thought event planning sounded fun!”  However, as she started emailing me with the dates of different events, wedding rehearsals, holiday parties, etc., that I would be expected to attend, I realized that not only was this new internship going to completely take over my evenings and weekends for the next several months, but I wasn’t even excited about it anymore. I was dreading it. Yes, I do think event planning sounds like a lot of fun. And yes, I do enjoy planning parties. But for some reason, I just didn’t have a good feeling about starting this internship right now.

A few hours before my first night, I was scheduled to have a phone call with my health coach, who is assigned to sort of mentor me throughout my education at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. She is the most amazing woman and has been such an inspiration and blessing to me through our monthly conversations! Anyway, while I was on the phone with her, she was asking me how I was progressing with the various marketing and business aspects of starting my health coaching. I had to admit that I really hadn’t done much with that…at all. Gulp. I’m over half-way through the year at IIN, yet I’ve barely done any marketing or bothered to set up my own website, seek out clients, etc. To be short, I’ve just been doing the homework, taking the tests, and doing the necessary studying. As I was talking with Pam, my health coach, I realized, “What am I doing? I want to be a health coach, but I’m doing nothing to make that happen!”

As I told Pam about this new internship I was planning to start, (I was supposed to meet the lady that night to sign the paper and officially start the internship!) I realized that not only did I not WANT to do the internship anymore, but it was actually going to be a distraction in my life from what I really want to be doing with my time. Pam encouraged me to call the lady and be honest with her about my feelings; I was so nervous to do this, but the lady was actually so understanding and told me that if I was interested in interning for her after the holiday season or at any time in the future, I should give her a call. Whew. So, that went well! I felt so relieved as soon as I got off the phone with her. I knew I’d done the right thing.

This experience was a very good one for me, for many reasons. For the sake of keeping this at least somewhat concise, I’ve boiled them down to:

My 5 Realizations from This Past Week:

(catchy title, I know)  😛

1) I realized that I was just doing the internship to AVOID the tough work of starting my health coaching business, and to make myself feel good about “having a job” so I wouldn’t feel pressured to devote myself wholeheartedly to IIN.

2) I realized that it was FEAR that was holding me back from jumping into the marketing and business side of things with my health coaching. This is a whole other topic for another post. Fear has been really holding me back in several areas, and I’m just now starting to realize how widespread it has become in my life. Definitely going to be working on that!

3) I realized how much I DO want to be a health coach! When I allow myself to brainstorm about it, I get so excited and bombarded with tons of ideas for starting my business! I’m passionate about health; passionate about fitness; passionate about helping people live whole and happy lives! I DO want to make this my career; and I believe it is my calling.  🙂

4) I realized how many things in my life are holding me back from pursuing what I really want. Again, this could be a whole post on its own, but the general concept is that I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my time management, my relationships, my habits and practices, and more. My mind is spinning from all of it.

5) Last, but definitely not least, I realized that with some of the time I would have been putting toward the internship, I can instead help out with my sister’s wedding planning! She is getting married in mid-November and has a lot of final details and projects that I am thrilled to tackle. It’ll be a fun adventure and definitely more memorable than planning weddings for brides I don’t even know. (as fun as that could still be!)  First up: planning the “welcome bags” for our out-of-town relatives, with sightseeing information and other fun gifts to welcome them to our city. 🙂

This post is already getting quite long, so I won’t drag it on too much longer.  😛

Suffice it to say that the past week has been very enlightening for me, shown me a lot about myself, revealed to me some things that are holding me back, and inspired me to press on toward my goals and dreams with new passion! All in all, it’s been a good thing. 🙂

 

That’s all for now!

Spiritual vs Bodily Training

I’ve been reading a lot in 1 Timothy lately and this passage has been especially interesting to me:

“…train yourself for godliness; for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.” – 1 Timothy 4:7-8

I spend a good amount of time training my physical body. I enjoy working out, I love to reach new levels in fitness, and I am pretty devoted to keeping my physical body in shape. When I read this passage, the question that hit me was “how much time and effort do I put into training myself for godliness and spiritual growth?” As these verses say, physical training DOES have some value, but spiritual training and growth is even more important. Physical training will benefit us in this life – we’ll feel more energetic, have better health, more focus, etc. – but once this life is over, how much will all that stress over fat, calories, exercise and working out really matter? Whereas, with spiritual training, we are setting ourselves up for more joy and fulfillment not only in this life, but in the life to come.

Don’t get me wrong, I definitely think physical training (i.e., working out) is of great value! But I don’t want to focus so much on my physical body that I neglect my spiritual life and growth. In fact, I want spiritual growth to be my primary focus and the center of my life.