Tag Archives: body

14 Months Later…

4 Jun

Emma will be 14 months this Saturday and I am just now getting the motivation to really resume the healthy lifestyle I had pre-pregnancy. Even though I trained for and ran a 15k, I have done really nothing at all in the toning department. My core grew stronger through running but it is still pretty weak and squishy.

Likewise, my eating habits used to be fairly buttoned up, but ever since pregnancy, they’ve been looser. For example, I used to hardly ever order value meals at fast food restaurants, but now I barely think twice. Bleh.


I do best with some kind of plan to follow, and want to do more toning than cardio, so I decided to follow the Bikini Body Plan from Tone It Up. I will only be doing 1 workout a day (sometimes they list more than that) and they will be short enough to fit in during one of Emma’s naps. I’ll most likely take 2 rest days a week. But I’m excited about it! I am not into hardcore strength stuff, so I like that their strength routines aren’t anything too crazy, but still get results.

As far as eating goes, I know that if I go too crazy with calorie counting or cutting out carbs or anything, I get obsessed. So I’m just going to focus on:

  1. Eating whole, nutritional foods – which includes switching out Coffeemate creamer for half & half
  2. Limiting alcohol to 1-2 drinks a week, and coffee to 2 cups a day
  3. Drinking at least 32 oz of water a day from my Nalgene, plus water at meals

I want to just start small with the things I know need tweaking, and once those become a habit again, go from there. Too much change at once = FAIL. My family has a reunion on the 4th of July so even though I know this is really a lifestyle change, I’m using that as inspiration to stick with it for the next month.

On the bright side, I have been eating quite a bit healthier here in Minnesota than I was in Colorado. My love for spinach has returned (after disappearing during pregnancy) so I’ve been having big salads for lunch. Dinners are usually a lean meat, vegetable and grain, or a vegetarian dish with lots of veggies!

9 Months Postpartum

22 Jan

Every month, I feel more in the groove of being a mother. In the past 3 months, I’ve started to once again make dinner, exercise, have date nights with Travis and read. We’re also in the thick of learning how to do house projects with a baby. We couldn’t do them this quickly, though, without a bunch of awesome friends who are willing to help us out. Thanks friends!

So here’s life at 9 months (almost 10 months…) postpartum:

Physical Recovery

Obviously I’m long since recovered from actually giving birth, but my body is still not the same. Most noticeably, I can’t sleep on my left side for very long because it ends up hurting my stomach. ?!?!? And I can still tell that my joints are achier/weaker. But maybe that’s just me getting old and/or out of shape…

I still have a linea negra on my belly, though it’s *almost* gone. And I still haven’t gotten my monthly visitor back, which I thank breastfeeding for.

I would also like to note here that my body has mostly adjusted to chronic sleep deprivation. Even on days when I feel like a zombie in the morning, I can usually turn things around after several cups of coffee and be fairly productive/interactive. But to maintain that, I have to go to bed between 8 and 9 every night. Emma is an early riser!

Body Weight / Image



I am down to my pre-pregnancy weight, but as I mentioned in my 6-month update, I was in marathon shape and very muscular then, so being the same weight doesn’t mean I’m the same as I was then. The 2 main differences that I notice about my body now vs. pre-pregnancy are 1) my stomach is squishier and 2) my butt is flatter – not necessarily a good thing. I’m sure things will start firming back up, though, now that I’m actually working out again. I’m planning to start training soon for a 15K in April. It’ll feel good to have a goal again. Until then, I’m just getting back into the groove of running with some 2 and 3 mile runs.

I’ve also been doing some strength training at home, and last week, I checked out a bunch of workout DVDs from the library. The only workout DVDs I currently have are either too long to do during naptime, or too intense for my poor joints, so I’m looking to add some to my collection. I haven’t been going to the gym for workout classes and stuff as much as I thought I would – usually because it’s either Emma’s naptime, or will be soon, and she is known for having meltdowns when she’s tired and not with mom. But I don’t want to use that as an excuse to not work out at all – hence the DVDs. In our new (bigger) house, I’m hoping to have an exercise room where I can have my bike set up on the trainer, an elliptical (my birthday present from my parents last year! We just don’t have it at our house because it’s too small), a TV for workout DVDs, free weights, exercise ball, etc.

Since the new year, I’ve also been eating healthier. Most notably, I’ve been eating a fruit or veggie with (almost) every meal or snack, cut WAY back on my sweets and wine intake, and cooking something for dinner besides a frozen pizza. Planning is key. If I fail to plan, I fall to pizza. Anyway, eating better and exercising more has helped me start feeling more like my old self, and not so much of a blob. It’s nice.


I still have my moments, but overall, I am really enjoying being a mom right now. Emma is such a delight and even when she’s screaming, I can’t help but smile and say “Oh, she’s so cute! I could just eat her up!” I love the noises and faces she makes. I enjoy seeing her little personality emerge. I love when she giggles, and how she loves being held upside down and spun around in chairs. Crazy little girl!

During one of Travis’ recent work trips, I realized that I’m not scared to be alone with Emma at night anymore. I’m not scared of her waking up, or her screaming bloody murder for no reason. Because I’ve done it all and survived! But really, I think it’s because I know Emma so much better now. There are still times when I have no clue what’s wrong, but for the most part, I know what’s up and can remedy it. It does help to know, though, that the world won’t stop spinning if I don’t get much sleep one night. I just look forward to Travis coming home so that I can have a nap!

It’s hard to believe that Emma will be 1 year old in just a few months. It’s gone fast, and yet so much has happened during that time. I’m probably the only one, but I honestly do not feel like time is going too quickly. I don’t want Emma to remain forever young. I want to know her personality, to find out what she’s interested in and talented at, to experience the world with her. That means she has to grow up. And I welcome it! Maybe someday I will miss the baby days, but right now, I’m enjoying the baby days but excited for all that the coming months and years have in store.

My body is not my own.

17 Nov

A while ago, I mentioned that I was going through the book Love to Eat, Hate to Eat with a group of women from church. My first realization was that my body does not represent who I really am. I am not the sum of how I look. There is more to me. That reminder has been very helpful over the last month, whenever I was tempted to think I should be skinnier.

But the past couple of weeks, I’ve swung the other way by letting myself eat whatever I want. I’m still eating mostly healthy with whole grains, lowfat dairy and fruits and veggies, but I’m also eating a bunch of extra crap – some Hershey’s kisses here, a cupcake there, a couple pieces of cornbread before dinner, a slice of ice cream cake from the break room. While I am in favor of diet freedom because I obsess less about food when I allow myself to eat whatever I am truly craving, these extras aren’t cravings – just convenient. I eat them because they’re right in front of me. I guess I wouldn’t mind a piece of cake right now.

Whenever behaviors like this go on for weeks at a time, they end up becoming habits. My habit becomes grabbing any sweet sitting out, instead of saying no to the “meh” ones. I eat a snack before dinner, even though the actual meal will be ready in 30 minutes. I have both wine and ice cream after dinner, instead of choosing one.

I realized this morning that these habits come out of my not recognizing that my body is not my own. I have been blessed with a genuine desire to eat (mostly) healthy and stay active so it’s never really been that much of a battle to take care of my body. Sure, I get off track now and then but I usually get back to healthy habits after a week or so because I honestly like it. But when I do get in funks like my current one, where I find myself eating more sweets and carbs than normal, I just brush it off saying, “This isn’t that big of a deal. I’ll get back on track soon enough.”

I started thinking, what if I did that with money? I’ll just splurge on this and that and next week I’ll get back on my budget. The consequences of my actions would still be around next week. Or what about with unhelpful books or movies? I’ll just watch Sex and the City this one time. The mental pictures don’t disappear the minute I turn the TV off.

Because I know that about money and unhelpful books and movies, I avoid them. I just don’t even go there. And I don’t feel restricted by not living beyond my means or watching inappropriate shows. I feel more free because I’m not encumbered by all the temptations and consequences that go along with those things.

Why is eating any different?

I know that I feel better and don’t think about my body image/weight/food as much when I’m exercising self-control and eating wisely. I know that eating a bunch of sugar in one day makes me feel gross. So why do I do it?

I’m pretty sure it’s because I don’t look at the consequences of eating poorly as being a big deal. Sure, I don’t feel the best when I eat too much food or too much sugar but the next morning, I eat some oatmeal, I go workout and I’m back to feeling pretty good. Easily solved, right?

But I forget that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. When I go to church, I treat the facility and furniture with respect because it’s God’s house. I don’t pour garbage all over the floor and write on the walls, saying “Don’t worry. I’ll clean this up later. You’ll never even know.” Those behaviors would be disrespectful. In the same way, filling my body full of garbage that I’m not really enjoying but eating “just because” is treating my body, the temple of the Holy Spirit, disrespectfully. If I lived in the acknowledgment that my body is not my own because I was bought at a price, I believe my approach to eating would be different.

I do believe in balance and that God has given us delicious foods, including sweets and alcohol, to enjoy in moderation. But I know that when I eat too many of them, my enjoyment of them diminishes. Because they’re no longer a special treat – just a daily sugar bomb.

So just as I have been reminding myself that my body does not represent who I really am when I am tempted to base my worth on appearance, I am going to try to remind myself that my body is the temple of the Holy Spirit when faced with poor food choices. “Your body is not your own, for you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

Lord, help me to treat my body in a way that glorifies You as the only One that satisfies and that gives me life and joy, as well as energy and health for living with vitality. Health is an amazing gift and I thank You for it – help me to not to take it for granted or squander it on things that don’t satisfy.


In other news, I signed up to participate in the Holiday Bootie Buster Challenge 2011 that starts this Saturday. (For the details, follow the challenge hyperlink.) Hopefully this will give me that extra kick of motivation to keep going on my training plan!

What helps you strike a balance in your eating habits?

So about that…

6 Mar

I’ve been struggling lately.

I didn’t get in the Word once while in Columbus (at a Christian conference no less!) I got in the Word Wednesday and today but out of sheer willpower. 

I encounter the cards with my memory verses on them every time I open my Bible. There they are, tucked neatly between the pages of Romans. I feel a twinge of guilt as I stuff them back between the pages at the end of my quiet time. I’m still writing verses on cards every Sunday. I’m just not memorizing them.  

Every time I go to the bathroom (excuse me if it’s TMI), I am reminded (and grossed out) about how dirty my bathroom floor is. Once I notice that, I start glancing around at the other surfaces and notice that indeed, they are all just filthy.

In this year’s election, I voted for Obama. But I am just now familiarizing myself with the changes he’s made and policies he’s created…oh and giant bags of money he’s handed out. And I majored in journalism. Yeah, I know, I would suck at being a journalist. Politics to me is like sports–I find it just interesting enough to care but not interesting enough to consistently pay attention.

[Side note: I am sooo glad that I am not the President right now–or really anyone that needs to make decisions about our nation’s future. When I read about the financial situation of the global economy, I want to crawl into bed and pretend that the problem will just disappear on its own. I bet you’re glad I’m not the President too.]

My vacation to Mexico is a week from this Sunday and I haven’t felt more bloated and flabby than I do right now in a long while. Eating chinese for dinner tonight didn’t help. I honestly tried Intuitive Eating from when I wrote my last post about this until yesterday…when I broke down and logged my calories on Livestrong. “Just until after Mexico…” I tell myself. Uh huh, right, just keep telling yourself that.

I volunteered to translate articles from English to Spanish with Gospel Translations and while I’ve had the article sitting in my inbox since February 16th, I just started working on it Wednesday night…And I only translated 3 paragraphs.

Well, this blog post wasn’t meant to turn into a Woe Is Me lament. I’m just being honest–this is where I am right now. I am a messy, ambitious but lazy, paradoxical, confusing sort of person.

Some people have willpower of steel. They have to force themselves to take it easy (and even then, they don’t really take it easy). 

Some people are always laidback and chillaxing. They have to force themselves to do at least one productive thing during the day so they can say it wasn’t a total waste.

I am a pendulum that swings back and forth between the two. Sometimes it takes me a month to swing from maniacal to couch potato. Sometimes it only takes a day. You could say I’m slightly bipolar. Or you could say that I’m just your average woman. Both would be accurate.

Waiting upon God

4 Mar

Tired but happy. That’s how I would describe my mood today. Since going to Columbus last Thursday for the National Youth Ministry Conference, I have felt like myself again. Happy. Positive. Social. Energetic. Alive. I had been in a funk for so long that I actually forgot I was in a funk.

It’s good to be out.

But now I’m battling a cold. Boo. I like to think that because I take care of myself through eating healthy and exercising regularly, I’m somehow above getting sick. My sore throat and achy body remind me that I’m not.

The conference was great though. I felt very blessed by the opportunity to go. It was great getting to bond with my co-workers (and bosses!) outside of work. My roomie was Debb, the Exec VP of Ministry Advancement (a.k.a. my boss’ boss). She’s the head of our side of the ministry. She’s great–very business savvy and driven but also very down-to-earth, friendly, and open about her life. That’s one of the things that I really love about being a Christian–there’s this authenticity regardless of your status or rank that you just don’t find anywhere else–because we know that we are all sinners in need of a Savior.

So here’s a tiny recap of what we did at the conference (I’ll try not to bore you with details): Thursday, we flew into Columbus and set up the booth. Friday, the conference started. I had 2 shifts in the booth (meet and greet kind of thing) for a total of 4.5 hours (but I also worked on marketing copy when not in the booth). Saturday, we had two 2-hour track sessions. I helped set up our room and the tables with all of our handouts, centerpieces, decorations, etc. Sunday, same thing. Two 2-hour track sessions. Monday, Super Session (90-minute condensed version of the previous 4 sessions), booth teardown, and repalletizing. Flew back to Denver (and I got to have lunch with Rick Lawrence, the editor of Group Magazine!! How cool is that?!?! I feel like the nerdy kid who gets to meet all these cool, important people as I tag along with Greg Stier and Debb).

During the mornings and afternoons of the conference, the sessions took up pretty much all of my time so the only general sessions I was able to go to were the evening ones (that ran from 7:00-9:15). I got to see the band Braddigan (Brad Corrigan was the lead singer of Dispatch!) and Derek Webb in concert, as well as hear Doug Fields and Alex and Brett Harris speak. I also got a bunch of freebies, which is always fun. 🙂 I went to one late night session (from 9:30-11:30 so it got pretty late after a long day!), a documentary that Braddigan made about a concert they played for a garbage dump community in Nicaragua. It was very moving and sad. It made me realize that it is only by God’s grace and providence that I was born into a middle class family in the United States. I could’ve just as easily been born in a garbage dump in Nicaragua. It has renewed my conviction that I need to do something with my privilege, instead of just living for myself. More on that some other day. 🙂

For the time being, work is pretty busy, which is great. During one of our many chats, Debb told me something that has convicted me and clarified a lot of my career struggles. She said that if I concentrate on what she called my current “circle of influence” (the areas that I have influence and impact on now) and seek to do my current job with excellence, more opportunities will be given to me. I can’t concentrate only on what I want to be doing (while slacking on what’s right in front of me), because opportunities aren’t given to people who don’t prove themselves. I have to work myself into where I want to be. Jesus said Matthew 25:21, “You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.”  

That is convicting because I  have been guilty of half-hearted work at my current job. I haven’t sought to do the job with excellence. I have done the status quo. There has been a nagging thought in the back of my mind (no doubt from the Holy Spirit) that I am not glorifying the Lord with lukewarm efforts. I have tried to motivate myself to be more enthusiastic, to no avail. But something changed over the weekend: I realized that Debb believes in me and wants me to advance beyond where I am right now. It’s amazing what a difference that makes, to have someone championing you and wanting you to succeed and be the best you can be. It makes me want to be the best I can be. It makes me realize that I do have potential and I just need to apply it.

What Debb said is also clarifying because as she is older and wiser than me, and has gone through a lot of the struggles I’m going through right now, she can speak truth and wisdom into them. She reminded me that I am not in charge of where my life goes. I don’t need to (and can’t) direct it, plan it out, chart in a graph. God does that. I just have to be faithful with where I am right now. There is an Elisabeth Elliot quote that I used to reference constantly when Travis and I were dating:

I wait dear Lord. Thy ways are past finding out. Thy love too high. O hold me still beneath Thy shadow. It is enough that Thou lift up the light of Thy countenance. I wait – because I am commanded so to do. My mind is filled with wonderings. My soul asks “Why?” But then a quiet word, “Wait thou only upon God.” And so not even for the light to show a step ahead, but for Thee, dear Lord, I wait.

What an amazing woman of God! Her testimony provided immeasurable assurance to me in the midst of the greatest spiritual struggle I’ve had. And those words of wisdom still apply here, to what is, deep down, the same struggle in a different disguise. Then, I wanted to know if Travis and I would get married. Now, I want to know what God’s will and plan for my life is.

It’s easy for me to put a certain spin on my sin so that it doesn’t look like sin, per se, but more like just a character flaw. For example, with my body image, instead of outrightly saying, “God, I don’t like the body you’ve given me,” I put a spin on it and say “Well, I’m not content with my body because I’m not vigilant enough with diet and exercise.” Another example, Travis struggles with feeling jealous of other couples who have bought bigger, nicer houses than we did. Instead of outrightly saying, “God, the house You provided us isn’t good enough for me,” he spins it and says “Well, maybe we should have looked at foreclosures more. Maybe I made a poor real estate deal.” By putting the blame on ourselves, we can “get away with” being discontent in and with God (only in the sense that we don’t immediately recognize it as being discontent with God).

In the same way, I’ve put a spin on my struggle with life direction and career, etc. I’ve told myself, “Well, I’m the one who has to act. God can’t make my life be what He wants it to be if I’m being lazy and self-interested all the time.” Those excuses have been covering up my unbelief in God’s plan. Unbelief in His ability and willingness to guide my life. I pray for God to reveal His will for my life, all the while expecting for His will to look completely different than my life looks right now. Why? I haven’t consciously subverted God’s will. I’m not living in sin. Why would God’s will be different than my life right now? Whether I believe it or not, God is leading me.

I’ve also put this spin on my struggles with marriage. Instead of waiting upon God and turning to Him for help, I told myself, “Well, it’s my own sin that is causing these situations. How can I approach God for help with this when it’s all my fault in the first place?!?”

I realized over the weekend that I have been silently accusing God of not helping me–mostly in my marriage, but all areas of my life have been affected. I have been spinning my wheels, so to speak, in trying to better my marriage, my job, myself–for so long that I thought God and His Spirit had abandoned me to my own devices. If my marriage was going to improve or I was going to figure out my life, I was going to have to do it myself. Kay Warren wrote in her book, Dangerous Surrender, that Saddleback had been waiting for a church building of their own for 13 years. After many setbacks and hurdles, there was yet another. “Certainly we believed…in God’s timing…but eventually it got so old.” Certainly I believe in God’s power to sanctify and guide me…but being stuck and in the dark has gotten so old.

That’s where Elisabeth Elliot’s quote comes into play. I ask “Why?” and God says “Wait thou only upon God.” Don’t wait upon an answer, a breakthrough, a promotion, a better body, a better self–wait thou only upon God.

To blog or not to blog?

18 Oct

I am going to warn you now that this post could be scattered and random, since I have quite a few thoughts in my head and they are not all completely related… Also, I am using my laptop to type this and for some reason, it thinks that I want to search for something on the web page every time I want to insert an apostrophe. So I will not be using many contractions, even thought it makes me sound kinda stuffy.

I started my blog back in January because I love to write. I double-majored in Journalism and Spanish in college so pretty much all I did in college was write. I learned that to really hone your writing skills and produce any work worth reading, you need to constantly practice. Writers need to force themselves to write, even if it is one of those days that putting words on paper seems like pulling teeth.

Well, with a full-time job to work, a house to clean and manage, church activities to attend, and House episodes to watch, I do not have much time to write. I am toying with the idea of working 4 10-hour days (my work changed the HR policy for hourly employees to allow them to do that). I could use that day off to write and volunteer at a pregnancy center. But with my old boss leaving and a lot of stuff going on right now at work, it does not seem like I am going to be approved for that work situation anytime soon.

All that to say, I started a blog so that I would have some outlet to write, with some chance that other people would see and read it besides me. I had also planned to post my memoir on my blog pages. That has not really happened yet…

When I first started my blog, no one but my husband knew about it (but he did not even read it–and still does not!!) I used to frequent the Nest message boards a lot (not anymore) and put a link to my blog in my board signature, as well as my email signature. So people found and read my blog that way. But I did not physically tell anyone that I had a blog.

I have recently discovered that I am not the only person who did not tell anyone about their blog. The reasons for not doing so are different for each person. For my blogger friend Leah, she did not tell anyone because she wanted to maintain face-to-face communication. For my real-life friend (and I just discovered, also blogger) Katie, she was afraid to tell anyone because of what they would think about what she REALLY thinks. For me, I just could not figure out a way to tell people I knew about my blog without feeling like I was saying “Check me out! I am sooooo awesome!”

I never had the intention that my blog would be the blow-by-blow of my life (some people have blogs like that, that is their prerogative). Instead, I wanted to muse on the random NESS of life and the different things I was learning about God. And I think (and hope!) that for the most part, my blog has not been a bunch of fluff and description about what I actually DO every day, but rather deep (or at least deepER) thoughts about life, love, and God.

So this morning, when I was thinking about where I have been lately with the whole eating/exercise thing, I thought about blogging about it. But then, I was scared about my friends back in Minnesota reading about it. Because for some reason, I have always felt the need to keep secret my struggle with body image, eating, exercise, etc. I do know that I have talked about it with a few girls (and I talk about it with Travis, who tries to understand as well as he can as a guy) but by and large, I keep it to myself.

There are quite a few people at my work, men and women both, who openly and frequently talk about their efforts to be healthier, lose weight, exercise, train for an event, etc. It seems strange to me that it is like that, since I am so the opposite. Maybe I feel that way because I have been told so many times before when I even mention something of trying to lose weight/tone/eat better “You do NOT need to lose weight!! You are already skinny!” Or maybe it is because I feel like I struggle to make it not an idol, rather than, like other people, struggle to make it even remotely a priority. Whatever the reason is, I never chime in on what I am currently doing to “maintain my physique” because I would just feel exposed.

As I had all those thoughts, I realized that my intention for blogging had slowly been morphing without my knowledge or consent. I read somewhere online, when researching a better blog name (which I finally came up with!), that you can’t write anything without thinking about a certain audience. (Side note: I just discovered that my apostrophe button has now decided it will work and give me an apostrophe! YAY!! ””””’ Look at all those!) I have been tempted to filter what I blog about according to my audience. That defeats the whole point of my blog!!

So, in the name of not filtering my blog, I will write about what I’m tempted to not write about: my struggle with eating/exercise/body image.

I will first of qualify this by saying that I know that I’m not fat. I would like to lose a few pounds but I’m sure the majority of women fall into that category with me.

My biggest struggle lately has been eating horribly. My parents were out here for a weekend and then Travis parents just left yesterday after being out here for a whole week. For some inexplicable reason, I eat like a horse around my family. Thanksgiving and Christmas last year were anomalies in my holiday eating habits (in that I didn’t eat like a pig). I know that a lot of people struggle with eating around the holidays–but me, I just struggle with eating around my family. (Doesn’t help either that the exercise is pretty much non-existent when I’m around them).

When I eat horribly, I get bloated and feel gross. So I wear baggy clothes, which makes it easy for me to continue to eat horribly. And when I already feel gross, I feel like “Well, why not eat another bowl of ice cream?”

I envy those people who are even-keeled, who eat the same way all the time, who respect their internal fullness mechanism and stop when they don’t need anymore. I tend to be more of an emotional and spastic eater. I will eat a huge dessert when I’m already stuffed to the gills because I want dessert. I will eat ice cream, chocolate, and sweets even when I’ve decided not to (anyone who has read my blog consistently knows that!) because I have this puny little willpower. I eat when I’m bored or especially when I’m tired. I love cereal so much that I’m tempted (but lately have refrained from) eating 2 big bowls for breakfast.

I don’t really struggle a whole ton with the exercise part. I really do enjoy exercising (except for when I’m in a funk…then doing anything but lie on the couch seems like an extraordinary amount of effort). I have been going to aerobics classes at the Wheat Ridge Rec Center. I love them. They are challenging (exertion-wise AND routine-wise) but fun, the time goes really fast, and I push myself more than I would if I were by myself. I just need to get my eating under control.

Back in Sept, I had written a post about imposing a no-sweet rule on myself for the rest of Sept. Well, if you couldn’t tell, that didn’t really happen. After a week-long gaffe, I got back on track…for a while. But the end of Sept and early Oct have been pretty pathetic. But last night, I decided that I was sick of feeling nasty. I know that it affects the way I feel about myself and it affects my marriage (when you don’t feel sexy, it’s hard to act like you do!!) And I know that God doesn’t want me to beat myself up all the time over the way I look–He doesn’t want me to disrespect or abuse my body either, through under-training and overeating, or even the reverse.

There have been periods of time when I felt very in control (in a good way!!) of myself–what and how much I ate, how much I exercised, etc. I felt great being in control–but it’s the time when I drive myself into the ground and get discouraged that seem to be the hardest to get out of. I don’t want diet and exercise to rule my life–I want it to be a natural part of it. I don’t want to throw caution to the wind but I don’t want to be a Nazi about it either. Only the Lord can help me find the happy medium–because I can’t do anything loving for a body that I hate. I need to believe that I am beautiful the way I am but that God has called me to something better–He has called me to ENJOY the body that I have been given. I know that I enjoy my body the most when I take the best care of it–by feeding it healthy foods and moving it through exercise.

I also have been researching ways to prevent breast cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease–very real threats to women. I want to live long and be able to move around a lot when I’m older. So that is also motivation for being healthy now.

I guess my motivations for staying healthy are morphing as I get older and grow in my Christian walk. I keep hoping for the day when I wake up and I no longer struggle with wanting to be thinner. It hasn’t come yet. So I guess I will have to just keep on moving forward in faith, asking the Lord to free me from this idol and struggle, and give me life in His ways.

There! I blogged about it. I don’t feel better–it’s still a nasty struggle–but i don’t feel worse either. Because I know other women have this struggle. And if you have any advice or tips, I’d love to hear them!

No other gods

21 Jun

I was reading 2 Kings 17 this morning (part of my Bible reading plan) and part of it caught my eye. In that chapter, the King of Assyria exiles the Israelites (part of God’s plan because of their disobedience and idolatry). The nations who went to live in Samaria in place of the Israelites were taught by one of the Israelite priests how to fear the LORD. But the nations still worshiped the gods they had gotten from other nations. “So they feared the LORD but also served their own gods, after the manner of the nations from among whom they had been carried away.” (v. 33) The LORD’s commandment had been (and still was) “You shall not fear other gods or bow yourselves to them or serve them or sacrifice to them, but you shall fear the LORD.” (v. 35)

How many times as I like those nations? I fear the LORD but still serve my other gods–approval of man, thinness, wealth, beauty, comfort, ease, success. Am I sacrificing to those other gods? As I giving things up to have them, because they will make me happy? Is life found in them?

Reading The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis has made me think about the resurrection of my earthly body and my longing to be glorious, as shown in my struggle with my body image. Just as I am content with fewer earthly possessions because of the eternal payoff of giving money to the church and ministries, so I can be content with a less-than-perfect body now because I will get a perfect and glorious one in heaven.

We aren’t meant to be satisfied here! Our dissatisfaction here isn’t supposed to drive us to greater and greater measures to make ourselves happy–more diets, more possessions, more experiences. Our dissatisfaction is supposed to drive us to God and the satisfaction only found in Him. It is supposed to drive us to find comfort in the hope of the gospel:

“…with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable. It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body… Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44; 49)

So when I am struggling and wishing I were thinner or my stomach were flatter, I will remind myself that someday I WILL have the body I’ve always wanted–in heaven. That will make heaven even sweeter.

Further reflections on contentment in God

28 May

What is my driving passion in life? Like many questions, the answer is my appearance—body image, weight, exercise. Greg said that it’s easy to do something in the name of Jesus and think that you’re worshipping God through it—but you’re not. I can tell myself that taking care of my body through diet and exercise is glorifying to God—which it is, in theory—but is that really the reason I do it? No, it’s not.


Yesterday, I felt like I had eaten a lot. So last night before dinner, instead of trusting God and believing that I am beautiful to Him regardless of how many calories I eat or what I weigh, I logged on to The Daily Plate and entered everything I had eaten. It came out ok so I was relieved. But a tiny inkling of guilt began to grow in my heart.


 How did I justify logging on when I knew I shouldn’t? I told myself, “It’ll make me feel better when I see that there’s nothing to worry about.” But I knew I was disobeying God. Why? My conscious betrayed me. I was putting my hope and trust in counting calories and in being in control of my own life rather than in God.


Counting calories in itself is not wrong. But the Bible says, “Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.” My faith in Jesus does not lead me to count calories. In fact, my greatest desire is to be free from worrying about my body and my weight and to reach a point where I look to God for spiritual, emotional, and mental nourishment and I only look to food for physical nourishment.


Question: So why do I continue obsessing over calories, food, weight, body image, exercise, etc. even when I know that it makes me so miserable? Answer: Because I continue to believe that having the perfect body (according to my own standards, not God’s) will satisfy me.


But the truth is, I will never be satisfied if I’m not satisfied in God—and God ALONE.

Bodily contentment

26 May

“Because your steadfast love is better than ______________, my lips will praise you.” Psalm 63:3

At one women’s meeting in college, we were challenged to fill in that blank with whatever our biggest idol was, the thing we wanted most. At that time, I filled the blank with marriage. That’s what I wanted the most–and the thing I had the hardest time trusting God with.

But now the blank would be filled with a flat stomach. My stomach is my least favorite body part and no matter how in shape I get, how many sit-ups I do, I’m never quite satisfied with it.

Like most Americans who aren’t satisfied with their bodies, I have tried diets and exercise. I have counted calories and analyzed nutrition facts. I have sworn off sugar, cut out pop, ate more protein, ate fewer carbs. And you know, in college I was thin. I look back at pictures and think “Hey, not bad!” But here’s the kicker: I was never satisfied. No matter how much weight I lost and how toned I got, I never got to that elusive point (that I sinfully think is still out there somewhere) where I think “My body is now exactly how I want it.” Even if I did get to that point, one cheeseburger and it’d all be over.

So the past couple of days, I’ve been thinking about contentment, God’s glory, and my life. I listened to a great sermon by Tim Keller called Splitness about Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and the Apostle Paul in Romans 7. Keller points out that the commandment that gave Paul the most trouble was the 10th–Thou Shalt Not Covet. This commandment was different than the rest because it dealt with a heart issue and not just behavior. Keller said that the opposite of covetousness is contentment and that if we really had God, if we really understood how loved we were, we would be content.

Then, Travis and I were up hiking near Nederland. And I started thinking about something I read in Comfortable in Your Own Skin: being content with your body is glorifying to God. I had heard John Piper say that the purpose of our possessions is to show how much more precious God is to us than they are. The purpose of my body is to show how much more precious to me God is. It made complete sense: I remind myself to be content without the latest fashions and newest gadgets because God is enough. Being content with my body as it is right now–not because “it’s good enough” but because GOD is good enough–is glorifying to God.

Another thought I had that is weaved into all this is that in Christ, I have been freed from the Law–meaning I am justified on the basis of Christ’s perfection and not my own. Similarly, I have been freed from the law of beauty–being thin. Jesus thinks I’m drop dead gorgeous (to borrow from Greg Stier) because of Christ’s beauty in me. He is perfect so I don’t have to be.

“Because your steadfast love is better than life, my lips will praise you.” Being thin doesn’t compare to experiencing the Father’s steadfast love. His love trumps all.

“All of You is more than enough for all of me, for every thirst and every need. You satisfy me with your love, and all I have in You is more than enough.”