This particular blog is going to be the hardest and most difficult one I've ever written. It will be wildly transparent and honest and it will probably make some of you judge me, while most of you who know this battle all-too-well will understand perfectly. If people being real about their struggles bugs you in any way, I invite you to quit reading right now.
For those of you who are still with me, I want to let you know how much I appreciate your willingness to "go there" with me. (smile)
In 2004, I wrote a book about fitness called Body Builders: Cross Training. I've been a fitness instructor for over eighteen years and I've battled obesity in my past and somehow managed to dig deep enough to lose sixty pounds through healthy eating and exercise. I have helped write curriculum for Lifestyle Rehab, a program we used to teach at the YMCA. I was Mrs. North Carolina in 2001 where I went around educating the public about the importance of physical fitness for children in order to prevent obesity-related health issues in their future. I helped scores of people meet their fitness goals and lose weight as a personal trainer.
Fast forward to November, 2011.
Now, I will say that spiritually, I've been great. I've been very good about my quiet times. God has really been working in my life and using me to share His truth with others. I have a wonderful, personal relationship with God. I used to get up early to exercise, but now I get up early to read and study and then the exercise, which I always think I can fit in later, never happens. Sure, I walk. I do the minimum. But since I quit teaching fitness classes in May of this year, I really haven't pushed myself consistently the way I need to and I've put on about fifteen pounds. When you teach intense fitness classes for eighteen years, you cannot just stop working hard! You actually have to work a little harder in order to get your heart rate up to where it was when you would teach in order to keep the weight off or even just to maintain. It's difficult. And I've been lazy about it. And now I have to pay the price. It's so humiliating. Some sins are easy to cover up and hide - but not this one. It's obvious to everyone. And it's got to be dealt with!
Here's the big issue: Satan knows I'm struggling with this and he has been having a wonderful time belittling me, telling me what a failure I am and trying to convince me that everyone is talking about how, "Leslie has really let herself go! Didn't she write a book about fitness? What a failure!". I know in my heart that these are just thoughts - not reality - but it's been extremely difficult and I can tell I'm beginning to believe some of these lies as I struggle within, silently. In my past experience, shining light on dark things in my life makes the enemy run for the hills - so this blog is doing just that. I don't want to struggle in the dark anymore - I want to shine light on what is going on in my life and invite those of you who are having the same struggle to join me! We can do this - but we need to confess it, accept God's forgiveness and move forward in His strength - together.
So...the reason I'm writing this blog is because I just want to confess this to you, my friend and reader. I think sometimes people can read blogs about others and think that person has it all together. I don't ever want anyone to get that assumption from reading my blog. This is Real Life, remember? :) I also believe in accountability and think it's one of the most important things I can do to make a change in my life, aside from surrendering my issues to the Lord (which I have done). I've repented to God for neglecting His temple (my body) and He has forgiven me and given me grace and peace as I go out to fight with Him leading the way!
If you are in this battle, or if you know you should be and haven't picked up your armor yet, why don't you join me? My friend and I have come up with some questions we have written down to ask ourselves each morning, as a template for our journaling. Why not copy these questions and begin the journey with us?
1. Did you have a quiet time with God today?
2. Did you exercise today? What did you do?
3. How much TV did you watch today or how much time did you spend online?
4. What did you feel guilty about today?
5. What were you afraid of today?
6. What are you thankful for today?
7. What do you need to repent of today?
8. What do you to ask God for today?
Answering these questions for the past few days has been very insightful for me. I also began to journal my food intake and exercise at www.myfitnesspal.com. I invite you to join (it's free!) and it's easy to use (look me up - we can be accountable to each other there!). You will be amazed at what a wonderful tool this is.
I want to encourage you to take the first step. From what I remember, those first few weeks are by far the hardest. But once you begin to see results, you will be amazed. I also want to encourage you to read a chapter from my book Body Builders (you can read it FREE here at Google reader: click here) called "Food for Thought", which will help you tremendously in knowing what to eat and how often to eat. It's a quick read but I think it will be helpful to you.
As I have been attending fitness classes lately, the verse from Hebrews 5:8 keeps coming to mind as my heart is beating out of my chest and I feel like giving up...."Even though Jesus was God's Son, He learned obedience through suffering." If that's how He learned obedience, why would I be any different? And in my mind I know that the suffering will end. Eventually, my body will enjoy the exercise - but I have to go through some tough times before that will happen. I'm okay with that when I keep it in perspective and allow Him to remind me it's going to be worth the effort.
As we all go forward, let's remember Philippians 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." I know I can do this - in His strength. And so can you.