Change is possible; abundant life is available; and God's mercies aren't just new every morning, but every second.
I set out in 2012 with a plan to stop trying to lose weight and get healthy. I had already tried that. Often. I failed at it. Every time. Instead, I wanted to submit my whole life to God, letting Him be my Everything and giving Him everything in me. Weight, food, physical health... those are all very small points in a journey to abundant living. But oh what God did in those areas and is still doing!
My cholesterol went from a high-risk 252 to 176.
I feel good.
I feel well.
And I still have a long way to go. :-)
I know a lot of you out there are gearing up for the New Year. Resolving to lose weight, exercise more, read your Bible every day, be all that you can be, right?
Has it worked in the past? It never did for me. I tried the same things over and over, telling myself that, "This year will be different." Wrong.
So what changed for me? Why was 2012 the hardest and easiest, simplest and most wondrous year of my life? What finally worked?
I got out of the way. I let God be God. I chose to live in His strength, not just accomplish a task in His strength. I decided to live in constant relationship with Him, rather than only calling on Him when I "needed" Him.
Below are a few lists of things I feel like went right and lessons I learned. Some were fun; some were hard. All of it made for an interesting year. I hope you can learn from my journey thus far and join me in abundant life in 2013!
What I did right:
- Prayer - I forced myself (at first) to talk to God honestly about everything I was feeling. I made a point to talk to Him first before running to my usual "hiding places" and comforts, whether they were foods, naps, friends, mom, etc. I also make a point to pray on the armor of God from Ephesians 6 daily. I want to stay alert and tuned into the Spirit so that I can submit quickly to His leading instead of my own flesh, wants, and selfish desires. Nowadays, running to Him first and staying in communication with Him all day are natural.
- Journaling - I kept track of my emotions, mental state, experiences, prayers, etc. and looked back from time to time to see changes.
- Food tracking/journaling - I am using Weight Watchers as my general health plan, which comes with an app on my phone and online tools that have been a tremendous help. The one habit I am most thankful for acquiring is tracking what I eat/drink, healthy habits, etc. Helps me stay aware and focused.
- Try new things - I set a goal to try 12 new things by the end of the year (foods, activities, places, volunteering, etc.). I kept a list on my phone and added to it. It was fun and helped me get out of my comfort zones. I may not have bungee jumped, but I did try sushi and found a new food I love!
- Give myself a break - Didn't beat myself up or quit if I had a bad day, week, or couple of weeks.
- Keep perspective - Remembering often the good things that have happened so far (Example: when I gained a pound one week, remember the total pounds lost and keep perspective.)
- Be honest with myself - I asked myself some hard questions at times. At other times, it was as simple as asking myself whether I was really hungry or just eating out of a response to something else. Either way, I realized that I'm worth being told the truth, even when I talk to myself!
- One step/habit at a time - I did not start out trying to exercise, eat right, and drink all my water every day. I picked one thing and focused on it. First, it was food tracking. Once that was a habit, I worked on picking better foods (veggies over carbs, salad over hamburger). Once I was eating better food, I started to decrease portion sizes. Then I added water/liquid management. I didn't try exercising till I was 5 months in! We won't be pictures of health overnight, so why set yourself up for failure? One step at a time.
What's Next? Keeping it simple.
- Scripture Memory - I need to hide the Word in my heart. I have not committed to that in a long time, and I know it makes a difference in my ability to obey and persist in what He calls me to do. I have set up a simple Scripture memory plan in place of my previous Verse of the Week page. I want to slow down, dive in, and soak up all He has for me. Join me!
- Exercise - 2013 needs to be a year of consistency with my exercise. I did well for a few months, then fell off, then got back too it, then stopped... Yo-yo. Consistency is the next habit on my list to work on, so I've set a goal of running a 5K at some point this year. Scary!
- Less TV - I need to watch less TV. Too many hours on the couch have limited my progress with exercise and other goals I want to achieve. Time to tune out! More books, more walks, more fresh air, more life lived in reality instead of reality TV.
Faithfully, fluffully His,