Heavy vs. Healthy

So, I recently found Melissa Toler’s blog, and I was totally on fire, while reading her posts. I can agree with so much of what she shares!

However, she got me to thinking about what I believe, and where I stand, as someone who is working on becoming a “Health & Wellness Coach“.

Heavy vs. Healthy | My problem with HAES & Body Positivity | Life, Unleashed

In one of her posts, Melissa stated, “It’s okay to be fat!” What I think she meant to say, however, was “it’s okay to have a bigger body than what society considers ‘ideal'”. Otherwise, I’d have to disagree with her statement. Here’s why…

If someone has a good amount of “fat” on their body, generally they have some unhealthy habits … and those habits can lead to other health issues (heart disease, Diabetes, etc.). Therefore, it would be wise for those people to learn how to take better care of themselves.

And yet, I also believe that, if you are taking care of yourself by eating well and moving regularly, then yes, it is totally fine to have a body that is bigger than what society would tell you is “ideal” (who says society gets to make the rules, anyway? Am I right?! )

My belief is also that you need to find what works for you, in regards to eating, exercise, and just maintaining your health. It doesn’t have to be complicated — heck, it shouldn’t be complicated!

It’s about taking care of yourself so that you feel good, and can enjoy your life … but not to the extent that this completely overtakes your life, and is all you ever think about. It shouldn’t be causing you to completely obsess.

There are FAR MORE IMPORTANT things in life than weight loss, or how we look.

This also got me to researching more about the “health at every size” (HAES) movement. And, while I agree with a few of its tenets, there are more that I disagree with. Just the title, alone, is all wrong… but, I think they mean well.

What I believe is meant by this title — and maybe by the whole movement — is that women can be beautiful at every size. And, that –to me– is far more accurate. No one can judge someone else based on their size alone (though, sadly, many try). Thin doesn’t necessarily equal “healthy”, just as heavy doesn’t necessarily equal “unhealthy”. Our appearance doesn’t equal our state of health.

My feelings are similar, in regards to the whole “body positivity” movement, as well.

It’s totally a good thing to love yourself, no matter your weight or size!  But (and maybe I’m misunderstanding it, here), to completely ignore the need to eat healthy & move regularly while saying, “I love myself, just how I am!” — that’s not right. You are not loving yourself if you aren’t doing what has been proven to help one maintain good health. You are not truly loving yourself by allowing your body to go to waste in order to prove a point to the powers that be (or, just to those in your circles who may have offended you at some point).

There is no one-size-fits-all method … we all have to find what works for us, personally … and then let go of the “shoulds”. We need to stop apologizing for who we are, and for what we feel is right for us.

Again, my point is solely that you can maintain good health habits without having to become all obsessive about them. I believe that it truly is important to pay attention to our health, and to practice those things that will enable us to live life to the fullest. God calls us to be good stewards of what we’re given — including the bodies we live in, given to us so that we can do His work, here on earth.

After all, we can’t fulfill our purpose (our calling) if we can’t even get our butts off the couch! ;)

 

Be a Beginner

So often, I want to rush ahead, rather than taking things slow. Do you do this, too?

While I know that good things take time, and that, by going slowly, what we’re working on is more likely to last, I also get sucked in by our “instant gratification” culture, and want to have the results — right now!

Be a Beginner | Life, Unleashed

I have been in business for myself (working from home) since late 2013. So, you might think that I am seeing good success now, four-and-a-half years later (I am still working from home, after all!). But, no. I’m not yet successful — or not according to the generally accepted standards of “success”, anyway.

However, I also have not failed.

These past four years have been full of twists and turns, trying things and rejecting things, then trying something else. I had to learn a few things through the process:

(1) I had to learn how to actually do business, online, as an entrepreneur (learning the techy bits, sales & marketing, and all of the rest). 

(2) I had to discover what does, and does not, work for me — which business model, and which products or services, were the best fit. In other words, what I am good at that also meets others’ needs.

Finally, sometime last year (2017), I was able to get to that “Aha!” point, and know with almost pure certainty what I am meant to be doing, and who I am meant to serve. It has taken a lot of tears, frustration, and journaling, as well as many random coaching sessions with other entrepreneurs. Yet, through it all, I finally feel confident that I am on the path that was meant for me.

But, here’s where it gets tricky.

Now that I have that knowledge of what I’m to do, and who I’m to help — coupled with the fact that I have been at this for four years — I sometimes fall into the trap of expecting everything to just easily work out, from here on forward. I forget that, really, I’m only just beginning in this newfound role.

Because I’ve had so many stops and starts, I don’t feel like a “beginner” any more… I feel like I should be succeeding by now.

Yet, as I was journaling, the other morning, getting all frustrated over the fact that I am having to start my email list over from scratch (among other things), I was reminded that, in this particular business model, I am only just starting out. As such, it’s going to take time — and patience — to build things up to the point where I do have a following, and I do have products to offer.

Right now, as a beginner, I need to go about patiently laying the foundations — creating content, building relationships with people, etc. And as I do these things consistently (which is key), I will see my business continue to grow. For now, however, slow and steady progress is the goal.

{For those who are wondering, my newfound role is as an Infopreneur and healthy living trainer. I create information products that help women design a life that sets them free; and I also train women to remember who they are, and then get their minds & bodies strong & fit for fulfilling their kingdom purposes}.

Not My Kingdom

As an entrepreneur, it’s so easy to get caught up in building your business. There are a million moving pieces and, if you’re on your own, you are the one in charge of juggling all of those pieces, ensuring that you don’t drop any of them!

As a Christian entrepreneur, it’s even trickier, as you also need to be constantly checking your actions against God’s will and plans for your life and business!

Not My Kingdom - Life Unleashed

In recent weeks, I’ve made some changes to the side-gig I had going on — basically, I traded one network marketing company for another, and then regretted my decision. As such, I’m in the process of getting ready to return to the previous company. And, as I’m going all into “planning” mode, again, about how I’ll run things differently, this time, I hear God whisper a question to me: “Are you counting on this MLM to provide for you, financially? Or, are you willing to trust Me to provide for all of your needs?” Ouch.

God is basically warning me to be careful that I’m not trying to build my own kingdom, rather than helping Him to build His.

If I don’t seek God’s direction for my life and business, then yes, I end up building an “empire” dedicated to myself, and looking to take all of the credit. Instead, I need to remember DAILY — even moment-to-moment — that my true purpose for even existing on this planet is to know God, love God, make Him (and His kingdom) known to others, and to bring Him all of the glory!

The beauty lies in the fact that, by following God’s leading, and going with His plans for my business (and my life), things will then turn out far better {Eph.3:20} than I could even imagine, and I will be guaranteed to see “fruit” from my efforts {God promises us in Scripture that, if we follow His will, we will prosper!}

The best way I’ve found to be sure that I am remembering to choose God’s ways over my own, is to journal. I write out my ideas, and then “talk” to God (through the words on the page) about what He has to say on the matter. Sometimes He’ll lead me to expand on the idea, and other times He’ll point out things I hadn’t considered, leading me to realize that perhaps it’s not the best path for me to pursue. And yes, at times I don’t get my answers right away. Sometimes I need several days’ worth of morning journaling sessions — coupled with God’s Spirit “speaking” to me through various sources — before I finally “see” which way God wants me to go.

Regardless, He is faithful. I know that I can trust Him to guide me, and that He will provide grace and correction for those times when I stubbornly go my own way, or just plain forget to seek Him first.

“Whether you turn to the right or the left,
your ears will hear a voice behind you saying,
‘This is the way; walk in it’.” {Isaiah 30:21}

 

Practicing Simple Health

If you’ve ever had excess weight to lose, and have started looking for help in this area, you know that there are more than enough gurus out there, willing to tell you how you should do it. A lot of it tends to be very conflicting, too. Do you go low carb, or low protein? Should you eat three meals a day, or six smaller ones? Paleo? Keto? Intermittent Fasting? It’ll make your head spin!

 

practicing simple healthBack in 2005, I found a method called “mindful eating” (also known as “intuitive eating”). And, in putting its principles into practice, I easily dropped twenty-five pounds in just six months. It is the only thing that has worked for me, thus far.

Prior to this, I’d tried other methods, only to give each one up after anywhere from two days to three weeks. I tried Bob Green’s ‘Make the Connection‘ diet, Weight Watchers, First Place for Health, following diabetic exchanges (even though I’m not Diabetic), and others. Nothing worked … until I found intuitive eating.

That’s the thing, though — and I believe it more and more, with each passing day: You have to find what works FOR YOU.

We are all different, with different tastes and preferences, and circumstances that are unique to each of our lives. So it makes sense, then, that no one method or plan is going to fit every single person … at least not in the same way.

After gaining back the weight I’d lost in 2005, and spending the next twelve years frustrated by my inability to repeat that previous success, I realized that I was very tired of chasing the “quick fix” (which doesn’t exist, anyway!). I was tired of trying various other methods, or attempting to add “rules” to the intuitive eating method in order to get it to work for me (again).

I determined to let go of all of the extras, get back to basics, and start practicing what I call “simple health”.

Simple Health, to me, means doing what I know works for me, using the resources I’ve already found and loved, and not making things any more complicated than they need to be.

I know, for example, from my years of trying various things, that I love:

• eating according to the mindful eating method

• walking on my treadmill -or- going to the gym -or- using my Walk Away the Pounds DVDs
(all of which are my preferred methods for exercise)

• having one or two good friends that check in on me, from time to time, to keep me accountable to my goals

• weighing myself only once a week, first thing in the morning

Now, these are just the basics of what works for me… there are other things I take into consideration (like the fact that our bodies –especially as we age– are always changing, and so we need to adapt our methods to go with those changes). I believe we always need to be learning, so I might test out several other things, in addition to these basic, simple practices that I already know work for me. Yet, if I do nothing else, I will –at the bare minimum– maintain my health through these simple things. They are my non-negotiables.

Intuitive Eating encourages us to eat and drink the food and beverages our body enjoys. Mind you, as I’ve been accustomed to eating processed and sugary foods 98% of the time, choosing those things is obviously not the most beneficial way for me to feed my body. As such, I have to use some common sense, and work to train myself to enjoy the healthier options.

Where this becomes problematic for most dieters (and I, too, fall prey to it) is turning this into some kind of hard-and-fast “rule”. For example: “I cannot have any processed or sugary foods ever again!” That is a recipe ((grins)) for disaster!

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Instead, I can choose to start by substituting a meal or two per week — swapping out the processed foods for homemade or real-food options. Then, I can add in one new “from scratch” recipe every week (or even, every other week), to slowly train my tastebuds, and adjust to my new “normal”. At the same time, I can also just not buy a lot of the sugary snacks any more. Much as I’m allowed to have them, I can tell myself that I am choosing not to, because my bigger desire — the longer-term one — is to get my body healthy {see 1 Corinthians 6:12}.

This is also where it helps to really know why I want to be healthy.

My own “why” is so that I can enjoy life to the fullest, and still be capable of fulfilling my God-given purpose, even into my senior years. I don’t want to end up with any obesity-related health issues, like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, dementia, etc. I don’t want poor health to slow me down, or age me prematurely! Instead, I want to enjoy all of the years God chooses to bless me with!

So, I’m choosing to practice simple health in 2018 and beyond. And, you’re invited to join me, if you wish! {Start with a 30-minute Kickstart Session!} I have a free Facebook community, too, where I offer ongoing support & accountability.

Let’s not let the devil continue to steal our futures by keeping us weighed down (literally!). Let’s take back our health & enjoy life to the fullest!

Abiding In the Vine

Abiding in the Vine | Life, Unleashed

Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself,
unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“I am the vine, you are the branches.
He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit;
for without Me you can do nothing.”
(John 15:4-5, NKJV)

 

Have you ever read this passage, and felt a little bit lost, unsure of what it means to “abide”? I know I have.

Other versions of this verse substitute the word “remain”, and that helps, to an extent. But, I like to get really, really clear when it comes to instructional passages of Scripture — especially ones (like this one) that promise blessings for having obeyed them!

According to Dictionary.com, “to abide” is … “to remain; to continue; to stay or live somewhere“. The synonyms for the word also provide clues: “keep to; hold to; follow; stick to; acknowledge; respect; defer to…“.

I can break it down even further, just based on thinking through what these verses are describing.

Jesus is painting a word-picture of a vine and its branches… saying that He is the vine, and you and I are the branches. In order to produce “fruit“, we have to “abide” in the Vine. In other words, the branches have to stay connected to the vine. If you cut the branch off, it’s going to wither and die (verse 6). However, so long as the branch stays connected to the vine, and is taken care of by the gardener (God), the branch will stay health & vibrant, and can produce “much fruit“!

So, what does it look like to “stay connected to” Jesus?

Well, for me it means meeting with Him every morning, before I turn on my computer and “let the world in“. Mind you, I am definitely NOT one of those early birds who gets up before the sun to do my devotions! I’m lucky if I can pull my butt out of bed after the fourth time I’ve hit the snooze button on my alarm! (And yes, I have plans to read Mel Robbins’ book, soon! LOL). I then get my daughter off to school, too, before sitting down with my coffee & journal for my “quiet time”. But it has made a tremendous difference in my faith to give Jesus that first bit of every day. I also make sure to chat with Him throughout my day-to-day activities, asking for guidance, thanking Him for things that move my heart, etc. He says He never leaves us, so I picture Him always hanging out with me, wherever I’m at — on the couch, at the kitchen table, driving in the car.

Whatever feels right for you, to make sure you’re staying connected to (abiding in) Jesus, do that. I’m positive that God smiles when we make the effort to keep aware of His proximity.

What It Means to Live Free

I think it’s safe to say that every human being longs for freedom — some probably more than others.

For those of us over here in the West, we enjoy a lot of freedoms. And yet, we often let ourselves get into bondage.

What do I mean?

What it means to live free | Life, Unleashed

I guess I’m thinking mainly along the lines of mindset. We get “stuck” in certain ways of thinking, which leads to feeling stuck in certain behaviors… and we end up not feeling so “free”.

So, what does it mean to “live free”? When you read my site’s tagline (Dream Big … Live Free), what comes to mind?

Living free might look different to different people, as we all see things through the lens of our own circumstances, etc. For me, though, living free looks like this:

• It is taking ownership of your God-given identity, personality, and CHOICES.

• It is letting go of being controlled by others’ expectations of you… and the “shoulds” that try to run your life.

• It is letting go of mediocre, aimless living (life where you’re existing, rather than thriving).

• It is freedom of choice.

• It is finding what works for you, in all areas of your life.

• It is pursuing your purpose, regardless of how crazy it might seem to those around you.

• It is feelings of victory, boldness, and the confidence that comes from knowing who you really are.

• It is a soul-deep knowing that you are meant for more.

• It is living authentically true –without apology– to who God created you to be.

• It is intentionally designing your life’s path, in cooperation with God, embracing His plan for you, and learning to live in the freedom that that brings!

BE FREE • BE YOU • DREAM BIG

So, what does “living free” look like to you?