In May of last year, I opened up got real about my journey with food and fitness. I shared where I was, where I'd been, where I fell short, and where I found peace. Exploring my relationship with nutrition and fitness - really analyzing the roller coaster ride, if I'm being truthful - revealed some hard truths about my heart. At the root of the madness was my human desire for ultimate perfection...a perfection centered on performance - never for myself, but for others.
As relational beings, we strive for connection, affirmation, inclusion, acceptance...you name it, we want it (at least I do). As I started to write down my daily activities and nutrition, alongside what happened for me in that day, I noticed that my own roller coaster moved with my choices. If I chose perseverance, wholeness, love, etc. it showed up in my day. If I allowed my "happenings" to choose me, it definitely showed up in my day....and not in a healthy way.
I searched for the silver bullet fix to the back and forth and my tendency to quell emotions with food. Fad diets. Extreme measures. Disappointment. Failure. Exhaustion. Get up and try something new. Excuses. Inconsistencies. Disappointment. Failure. Exhaustion. You get the cycle. Statistics say you've probably lived pieces of the cycle yourself. So, when does the roller coaster stop? And how? Digging for the answer brought me to a breaking point shortly after I wrote about my past history with nutrition (or lack thereof). The roller coaster doesn't stop. We're surrounded by trends. We're inundated with standards we didn't choose for ourselves. And slowly but surely, we lose even footing and fall prey to the pursuit of perfection, all the while leaving our progress in the dust.
In the Summer of last year, I had another night of full pizza...and all I sensed was failure. I didn't know if I had gained weight or lost it (we don't keep scales in the house), but I didn't care. I was unhappy. I was tired. I was fragmented. I couldn't find a steady place to center my gaze and rest my heart long enough to find a fresh start. I could sense God calling me to a big dose of newness, but in the midst of my own mire I just couldn't find the path towards it...if that makes sense. Praise the Lord for His precious attention to detail. He works that way, because He created us that way. He knows what it takes to get our attention and He knows how to shift the gravitational pull on our hearts, because He MADE our hearts. He used some really incredible individuals who reached out when I needed it most, and walked with me in the process of renewal. I found a heaping dose of grace and an authentic community of women who recognize that while the roller coaster continues, we have the option to shred our tickets and walk the beach instead.
Before I sign off from you, my friend, let me say one thing: health is not about a bikini ready body. I'm not rocking a six-pack. I'm not modeling for Victoria's Secret. (and I don't want to). However, my outsides are starting to match my insides. I needed to wrestle down my pride, ego, and self-centered tendencies in nutrition and ask for some blank space to start over. For me, that looks like a version of myself I may not see in the mirror (my mind still often twists that reflection). I've been given a new vision for myself: whole. strong. fierce. passionate. and made on purpose.
Why do I care so much about this journey? Why does physical health matter so intensely to me? One word: freedom. I longed for the emotional, physical, and spiritual space to love others, give radically, and live freely. My yo-yo years with nutritional and physical health have taken up so much space, in my head and heart. For me, it was never about dropping pounds and losing inches. It was about finding consistency in one area of my life to build the foundation for growth and impact in all parts of my life. Our nutritional choices are a reflection of our heart. Does that mean I steer clear of pizza because my heart is "oh so pure?" Absolutely not. I practice mindfulness. And that shows up, sometimes, as a total blast evening with friends at a football game that ends with pizza. 100%. The difference between that night today and that night a year ago: I consciously chose. And that shows up as two pieces instead of six (true story). Additionally, when I falter and find myself knee deep in chocolate after receiving some tough news (also a true story), I have accountability. I have a mega dose of love. I walk in some pretty fantastic grace. And I wake up the next morning, with a new day ahead.
Today, I encourage you to stop. Rest. And release. We don't need a new year for a new slate. We have today. And FYI - it's a NEW day. Train your heart for the pursuit of daily momentum, not ultimate success. Train your eyes for progress. You are not alone. Walking with you......
You don't have to try.