As many of you know, I started this blog at the lowest moment of my life – the day after a terrifying suicide attempt. I have come a long way since those days and a huge part of that journey towards living recklessly alive has been fighting for a healthy lifestyle.
This summer I have been working crazy hard on my super unpublished book, “Recklessly Alive: My Journey From Suicide Attempt to Abundant Life.” As part of my research I have been reading every passage of the bible where Jesus talks about life or feeling alive.
One of the most telling verses is one that has been appearing on Christian bumper stickers since the 80’s:
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
Luke 10:27-28 (NIV)
DO THIS AND YOU WILL LIVE. Or in other words, do this and you will feel alive.
What would it mean to love God with all your strength? Four years ago my biceps dipped down like Bugs Bunny and I couldn’t even jog down the street to catch the ice cream truck. I didn’t take care of myself and, as a result, didn’t actually have much strength at all.
The truth is, I have the most fight in me to love and serve God when I feel good about my body and my life.
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It hasn’t been easy and there have been plenty of days when I felt like someone was following me around with a megaphone screaming, “YOU CAN’T DO THIS, GIVE UP!” (Click here to read about the beginning of my fitness journey – it may or may not involve vomit).
Twin Cities Marathon, October 5th, 2014!
The truth is I have started and stopped different workout plans and eating styles a gazillion times. I have gotten off track over and over and over. There is SO MUCH information out there it’s easy to get completely overwhelmed.
So, in hopes of inspiring you on your journey, here are a few things I’ve learned from my many, many failures.
1.) Notice What the Healthy People Around You Do.
Start building a network of people you trust for advice and encouragement. Notice what these people order at restaurants and when they fit in work outs. Most people are happy to share what they learned and want to help you any way that they can. If you’re really feeling bold, ask to tag along on a few of their workouts.
2.) Use your Social Media Time to Improve Your Health
Start filling your Facebook newsfeed, Twitter, and Pinterest with health advice. This allows you to take in little bits of information each day and can keep you from getting overwhelmed. Here are a few I follow:
Follow My Healthy Living Board on Pinterest and start following some of those inspiring pins.
3.) Tell the Doubts to SHUT UP or They Will Overwhelm You.
The enemy wants to keep you lifeless in all areas of your life and, in our culture, health has become one of his biggest avenues. If he can keep you feeling bad about yourself, his discouragement is more likely to be loud and proud.
We all have different financial limitations but that doesn’t have to stop you. Can’t afford a gym membership? There are TONS of free resources online.
I started with this Couch to 5k Plan outside at night so no one would see me. (They even have an App now that’s awesome!).
FitnessBlender.com is a crazy great resource! They have full free workout videos for every fitness level (and they rock).
If money isn’t a huge obstacle, find a fitness center that is very close to work or home. There are so many options out there (in Minnesota at least), find something that works for you. When I started, I committed to going to every single class at Lifetime Fitness to try it – even the ridiculous stuff. It totally worked because I found classes I love.
4.) Focus on eating REAL FOOD.
There are intense ways to do this, like The Whole 30 or completely cutting out sugar or soda (My Year Without Sugar). The point of these plans is not to deprive yourself but to notice what you are putting in your body.
Read labels. Make healthier choices at restaurants. Choose restaurants with real food like Chipotle and Panera when you’re out. Spoiler Alert: real food tastes and feels better. I PROMISE.
A few of my favorite pages:
5.) Listen to POSITIVE & INSPIRING Music.
Luckily, I’ve got you covered with awesome upbeat playlists to get your blood pumping! Don’t waste your workout time with trashy stuff, spend that hour being encouraged with God.
6.) Smile, Laugh, Forgive Yourself & Start Again.
Fitness is a journey, not a destination. It won’t be easy and it won’t happen overnight, but with every good choice and every step of progress, you will start to feel better and better. I can’t tell you how many days I’ve gone into the gym with the worst outlook and come out praising God in the sunshine.
The truth is my friends, you’ll be so much happier when you feel better. Set a few small goals and go for them! Stop waiting for tomorrow and decide to make a change right now.
Fight for the life you’ve always dreamed of. It’s completely worth it.
What have you learned on your fitness journey? How has your health impacted your faith? Let me know in the comments below!
This song is found in my Workout Music Playlists, “Jesus Cardio” & “Jesus Lifting”