Earlier this year I did my first Whole30. To say it has changed my life for the better would be an understatement! Since then I have done two more. Each one since I have given myself an exercise challenge as well. To better explain this I will back track a little bit. If you have seen my previous post about my health journey thus far you know that I started back in 2015.
My first change, needed to be small but mighty, and attainable (I cannot stress that part enough). Something that wouldn’t make me burnout and give up. I knew that meant I wouldn’t start at the gym, this battle started in my mindset, it started with my relationship with food. (Mind you this is before Whole30 was ever on my radar at all). I did know quite a bit about clean eating, so I started there. I stopped buying things that would cause me to keep binge and stress eating. If it is not in the house, I can’t eat it! I ate so much better and as a result, the last couple years has had ups and downs, but I naturally lost about 30 pounds!
In the Fall of last year 2017, I moved here to St. Augustine to start grad school. I’d been praying about it, knowing that the exercise part of my journey was going to have to come soon. My first term was mostly spent adjusting! I kept eating fairly well, and keeping good choices in the house. But I knew once and for all I wanted to say good bye to my bad food choices, and my addictions to sugar! So earlier this year 2018, I decided to do my first Whole30. To prove to myself, I have come a long way, that I can do anything. You can do anything for 30 days! And I did. It was such a boost of confidence, and a reachable goal that showed me truly how far I’ve come.
My second Whole30 happened about a month after the first. I decided the exercise was coming into play, but again, it needed to be attainable. I didn’t want to hate the gym. I wanted to love my body and do good things for it. Making changes doesn’t come from hating what you see and changing it, that causes burnout, sadness, and self-loathe. Making a positive change comes from loving yourself enough to do it for the betterment of your body, mind, soul, and spirit! So I decided every other day of this challenge I would do something active for at least 15 minutes! Get my heart rate up, and get my moving. I am sitting down a lot because of studying! Some days that was a workout at the beach, or the gym, or at home! I literally ran around my apartment complex one morning. But I gave myself the grace of starting small.
This last Whole30 I am finishing off as I type. We are on day 27. This time, my fitness goal was to workout everyday, with the exception of one rest day per week (I’m not a super human okay?). It was reasonable, challenging enough to where I knew I could do it. It takes planning, it also takes flexibility to my otherwise normal routines. It takes going to the store sweaty after the gym because you need to eat dinner (I am really not a fan of this, so it is expanding my comfort zone). It takes grace to know when you need a rest day, and to welcome it.
You might be saying, great Alie, cool? Why are you telling me all of this?
Well friend, because I never thought I’d be able to do this. Ever. I was weak, a slave to food. I hated the way my body looked. I was all sorts of emotions. I needed change, and didn’t know where to start. My journey started with me, I knew that I was the only one capable of making the changes. No one was going to do it for me, and they can’t. If I wanted to be healthy, I needed to give myself grace. Grace to mess up, Grace to keep going, Grace to be realistic in my goals. However, I can only give myself grace because of the grace Jesus gave us so freely. He gave so now we give. You can’t become a body builder over night. You can’t be “beach ready” in a day or two of fad dieting. I needed something sustainable. Something that would keep me going long after I felt like quitting.
I needed Jesus. It is not coincidental that everything the bible talks about relates to anything and everything you go through. I wrote another post about digging into the word of God over the past couple years and how it has changed everything. It also made me realize that apart from God I am powerless. But that through Him and for Him, I can do All Things (Philippians 4:13). I got a tank top made that says that as a constant reminder. The realization to me that everything is connected is what drives me to be better.
I was given this body to be the hands and feet of Christ. If I don’t take care of it, I might not be able to live the life that God is calling me to live. For me this is a call to be an OT. And that was a reality check my first term at Occupation Therapy school trying to do transfers. I was weak. If I continued to let my body be weak, I could not best serve my future patients. I might hurt myself trying to help them. I work out for them. It was a huge reminder when thinking about the future children I hope to have someday. All the research about unhealthy eating during pregnancy, and how it relates to the diseases, like diabetes, your child could be susceptible to is astonishing. I make healthy choices now, to steward my body for future children, and for their health. Lord willing I will have them someday! When I just feel like I can’t, I think of the reasons I am doing it, and suddenly I know I can do it, and I will. I think of my future husband, where ever he is, who ever he is. I hope that his outlook on food and nutrition will be passionate like mine. I will be a better future wife, if I take care of myself first. I can be a better person in general, if my mental health is taken care of first.
Self-care is so important. If you take one thing away from this blog post it’s this. Change comes from a place of LOVING yourself enough to do it, not hating yourself so much that you feel like you have to. Journeys to health are exactly that, journeys. It is, and will always be, an on going process. But friend, you can do it! If no one has ever told you that you can, I will. YOU CAN. YOU WILL. But remember to give yourself grace, and honest grace. Slip ups are normal, we are human, but you also need to set yourself up for success.
Start small, it is better to start small and succeed, that to shoot for the moon and fail. My first few arm workouts at the gym with machines, I had to use only the weight of the machine itself, why?? Because I have weak shoulders, and that is okay! I would start to feel self-conscious about it and then realize that it doesn’t matter because someday it won’t be this way. And I would rather start small and not hurt myself than feel the need to impress people at the gym who aren’t watching me anyways!
If you are thinking about making a change. Pray it out. Ask God where to start. Maybe you are like me and it will start with a food break up. You can do it. Or maybe you need to get back to a gym routine. You can do it. Have faith, give yourself grace, and pray your way through it. Do it for personal growth. For your future or current husband, kids, friends, clients, family. Do it for you. And most importantly do it for God. The one who gave you this body to be a vessel for His kingdom. Do it for the glory of the Lord. The one who strengthens you from the inside. You are mighty, you are loved, and you are a child of God. Friend that is always enough. Keep going. If you don’t quit you can’t lose!
One last thing, reach out. I would love to answer any questions you have, encourage you, or be a source of help in any way I can. We are all in this together! I am a huge fan of Pep talks, so if you need one holla at me!
“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.”
-1 Timothy 4:8–