Taking Charge of Your Physical Health: 5 Steps to Get Started

My long time readers know I am proactive in making healthier choices and trying to continually improve my health and lose weight.  For whatever reason, up until now I have procrastinated being transparent with you all.  Well that stops now!

Those of you active in my Facebook community agree with me that we all struggle with weight related issues.  The past year and a half to two years I have lost 50 lbs, great but not enough.  I kind of stalled for several months because of graduation, our apartment flooding, moving three times, starting grad school; the list goes on and on.  Now, thank the Lord I haven’t gained the weight back.  But I haven’t lost anymore either.

About three weeks ago the Lord decided to sit down and talk about several things with me.  You know the kind I’m talking about probably; the kind where He puts you in your place and tells you to stop being hard headed about something.  I have always striven to be obedient and He knows this, He knows me too well darn it!

Anyway, He was revealing some things to me that haven’t been just dormant, but dead in my life.  He said it was time to bring them back to life because I was ready.  I instantly sulked up and said, “No way!  Are you serious?!?!  But we’ve had this plan for over a decade now and everything is fine.  Just when the motion of one step forward and two steps back has become two steps forward and a half a step back, if at all….WHY do we have to do that now?”

The sulking lasted about a day and per my usual I put my big girl panties on and started to deal with it the same way I have dealt with everything, with faith, obedience, and a willing and humble spirit.  I don’t like when He pulls out the guilt card and puts me on my face!  That wounds my heart.

Now the reason I told you that entire story is because my weight is part of the intricateness of the revelation.  Now I can’t just ‘work on it’ anymore, it has to be one of the top priorities in my life.  And since several of the other goals I have been working toward are completed or running smoothly on their own, I have literally no excuses anymore.  Nothing to hide behind, no one to blame, and no one else can do it for me.  It doesn’t matter what I’ve been through in my past that got me to this point, I have to be the one to fix it, period!

The Issues:

  • I have a bad ankle.  I slipped and fell in a diesel fuel puddle that someone neglected to clean up in a parking space.  I’ve had four surgeries on it.  Each time I was in a wheelchair for 3-6 months.  My orthopedic surgeon said next time he has to fuse it, and I’m way too young and active with a teenager to do that.  Under strict orders I cannot do a lot of different kinds of exercising that put pressure on that joint.  He would even rather I not do lots of walking as exercise, only normal household cleaning and shopping and that’s it.  Impossible, right?
  • And, I have asthma.  If I get too hot, I cannot breathe.  My asthma attacks don’t usually require me going to the hospital and turn out to be anything that serious other than I will cough extremely hard and not be able to stop and then I will get sick. (Sorry to be gross!)
  • Everything I do for grad school, my freelance writing, and homeschooling my son are mostly sedentary activities.  No amount of controlling what and how much I eat is going to make that big of an impact on my weight loss anymore without adding exercise to my day, EVERY day.
  • Plus, I am NOT a morning person.  No, seriously, you have got to believe me when I say my normal wake up time is between 8-9 a.m. and we stay up until 12-3 a.m.  That is the natural sleep rhythm for me and my son unfortunately.  We can make ourselves go to sleep and wake up normal hours, and we do.  But, it’s not our natural rhythm.  But we should work out in some way first thing in the morning at a bare minimum to wake up our metabolism.

Enter God’s sustaining grace.

A month ago I started a new part time, temp job.  After three days I started waking up before my alarm clock.  The clock is set to go off at 6 a.m. every day.  I have been waking up between 4-5 a.m. EVERY DAY, including Saturdays and Sundays.  Am I upset by this, surprisingly I’m not.  That is the first miracle of God and His sustaining grace.  This is unprecedented in my life and completely uncharacteristic of me.  And some days I’m a little upset at myself that I like the turn of events.  LOL!  That’s just the old me being a sulking teenager again I guess.

I have been doing light resistance exercises at home for a few months now.  But, the past month I have gotten the inner urge to press and do more with it.  So I have.  And I find I enjoy the burn now!  Go figure!?!  I have added simple things throughout my day-even things at my desk-to keep myself moving and exercising.  I do leg lifts under my desk while I’m writing, like now.  I use my free weights I bought to do numerous arm reps while I am reading at my desk.  And once an hour on the hour I get up and do two straight minutes of something that gets my heart rate elevated, like go up and down my three flights of stairs quickly four times.

When I’m at work, I walk outside my entire morning and afternoon break, and I walk half of my lunch break.  So far none of my exercising has affected my asthma or my ankle.  And if anything the affects have been positive.  I have tons more energy and I am sleeping better without waking up off and on.  The walking also helps you not want to eat as much I’ve noticed.  It’s even improved my mental state and clarity, not that it was bad! LOL!

I’ve always been a very happy person.  I’m one of those people that repeat to themselves and everyone around them that happiness is a choice. You can choose to be happy no matter what is going on around you.  But the past two weeks it’s like I have this fountain of unexplainable joy continually pouring out of me.  I went from having friends describe me as having a tendency to be uptight to relaxed and carefree, like night and day.  SO weird….

The good news is I have lost 7 pounds in one week!  Usually, when I’m working diligently I lose that much in a month.  I’ll take several more weeks like this, please!?!

As far as diet goes, I have only changed a few things.  I have gotten stricter with the amount of food I eat, I’ve also dramatically increased the amount of water I drink, and I don’t eat past 4 p.m. at all.  IF I find myself hungry, I drink a glass of V8 and more water.  The first couple of days I had bad headaches doing that.  Now I don’t have any and I’m used to it.

I get up and do my daily devotional, exercise, start drinking water, and then I get the whole day’s food ready.  I make us both breakfast-two eggs and a piece of whole wheat toast.  I make myself a nice salad for lunch at work.  And I make/unfreeze dinner so I can eat it right at 4 before I leave work and it’s also already prepared for my son when I get home which is a bonus!

Here are five things you can start doing today to help you in your weight loss goals.

  1. Get moving!  Add a quick 5-10 minutes of resistance exercises to your morning routine.  Start with a 10 minute walk 2-3 times throughout the day.  Do something to get your heart rate up for minutes at a time.  Find something and make it work for you and your issues!
  2. Drink more water.  I learned something a few weeks ago that blew me away.  Despite the fact that I drink over 64 oz of water a day, it still wasn’t enough water for me.  Take your weight and divide by two.  Then divide that answer by 8.  The number you get is the number of 8 oz glasses of water you should be drinking every single day.  Don’t be scared.  It’s going to be a big number.  But, you swallow an elephant one bite at a time. So get started now! LOL!
  3. Pick a cut off time and do not eat past that time of day, no exceptions!  4:00 might not be a practical time for you, that’s OK.  Pick another one that will work and that you can stick to, and do it!
  4. Find a supportive accountability partner.  For me, this was probably the most important step.  I’m pretty strong, focused, and determined about most things in my life.  The area of physical exercise has been a tough hurdle because I need someone to do it with me.  As a single mom, that’s not always possible.  I prayed for one.  And God provided one in an unexpected person and place, another miracle of grace!
  5. Commit your efforts to the Lord.  This is cornerstone.  He wants you to have the desires of your heart.  For whatever you are lacking to make this happen for yourself, seek God through prayer and petition.  You’ll get an answer.  Just be prepared for whatever it may be :)

My prayer is that if you are struggling with this issue, or if you resemble myself and my struggle and bless your heart if you do, I want you to know you can find power and strength in God and yourself to take charge of your physical health once and for all.  I’m not saying we won’t have ups and downs, just show up and do your part.  God will be faithful to provide the results!

If you need a prayer and accountability partner, email me!

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