Scripture of the Day: God says, “I have set before you life and death, the blessings and the curses; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live”. Deuteronomy 30:19
We don’t think of it this way, but the choices we make today determine our chances of blessings and curses we get later on. God gave us the choice. We can invest in life, or we can invest in death. The choice is ours.
Sure, bad things happen to good people, and vice versa, but we can expect a better healthier future if we make better healthier choices now. In the same way, we can expect a life of sickness, ailments, troubles if we invest in a lazier unhealthy lifestyle.
I see so many sick people who are suffering now simply because of how they treated (or neglected) their body years ago. I’m sure they didn’t think about how their choices would result in back pain, diabetes, obesity, etc. You can learn from those people. Don’t make that same mistake.
This year, decide to make better choices now – as an investment in a life you will be satisfied with (and PROUD OF) later.
Scripture of the Day:“Whatever the activity in which you engage, do it with all your ability…” Ecclesiastes 9:10
How do we lose our way? It’s not that we forget THE way, or that we get lost. Most of us just end up lost because we slowly go off course, little by little by little. Like a tourist in an unfamiliar town, as long as we stay by the main roads, we normally are safe. But, it’s easy to get distracted or lost if you aren’t careful – and most of us aren’t as careful as we should be because we don’t really grasp just how easy it is to get off course.
You’ve heard people say “just go with the flow”, but going with the flow of life is what gets people in trouble. We have to fix our eyes on our goal and do everything we can to go against the flow of life that normally knocks us off our feet. This is more than setting goals, you have to SET goals and RESET your life daily – and even hourly. Since life constantly pulls us off course, sticking to the right path requires CONSTANT readjustments and planned purpose-filled steps.
Exercise with Purpose. Diet with Purpose. Live with Purpose.
It’s not like we don’t know we’re gaining weight, getting more in debt, not going to church as much, or getting further from a goal – but we act surprised because we don’t realize just how far off track we are until it’s too late. Sadly, it’s only until it’s painfully obvious, as we are facing the repercussions (which normally means we are completely miserable), that we decide to get finally back on track.
How can we avoid this? We need to recognize the signs and to be quicker to make the necessary adjustments to get back on track. It’s not only about getting back on course this year, but this time it’s imperative we purposefully STAY on course, and stick with the right people who will help us stay on track. And, when we fall (which we will at times, so be prepared for it!) we commit to keep getting back up.
You CAN reach your goals this year. You WILL be tempted to fail. BUT, you CAN be prepared to succeed by being one step ahead of each temptation, each slip and each obstacle.
- Recognize the signs before they pull you off track. What are things that have pulled you off course before?
- Decide NOW, before you get off track, how you plan to adjust, to get BACK on track when you stray.
- What guidelines can you set to keep you tethered in? Do you have friends that can help you stick with your program? Should you weigh in weekly to hold yourself accountable? What about hiring a trainer until you get enough results to keep you motivated?
- What are you purposely doing different this year, this month, this week and today?
As a fitness professional, I enjoy trying different diets and products so I can intelligently give feedback to our clients – and having an opportunity to try the Atkins Diet couldn’t come at a better time!
After a week entertaining house guests and another week in Atlantic City with my mom (for Ms. Senior Florida), all shortly after going to the Epcot Food and Wine Festival, I am SO ready to put the Atkins diet to the test next week!
5 things I didn’t know about Adkins.
The truth is, I thought I had a grasp on the basics behind the Atkins Diet principles. However, the more I studied it, the more I realized how much misinformation is out there. Since you can eat fat on Atkins, I think many people are under the impression it’s an all-you-can-eat bacon and sausage kind of diet. A big surprise to me, someone on Atkins eats a lot like I do! Here are just a few things I’ve learned so far.
1. More Calories - The average amount of calories in an Atkins diet is 1,500-1,800 calories, which is 25% higher than a typical diet. The truth is, I normally average 1,400-1,600 calories a day when I’m dieting to lose weight. I only drop to 1,200 if I’m at a standstill or not losing as fast as I’d like. Most people should easily be able to lose weight eating 1,500-1,800 calories a day.
2. More Filling – Atkins frozen dinners are the same amount of calories I already budget per meal when dieting, which is around 350 calories. While you can get lower calorie meals, Atkins’ meals are high in protein and fat, and low in carbohydrates, so the meals will stick with you much longer than a standard frozen low calorie meal.
And don’t freak if you look at the fat in their snack bars. This bar has 10gms of fat, 16gms protein and only 19gms of carbs (only 3 net carbs). Again, because it does have more fat, this bar will keep you fuller longer.
3. More Healthy Fat - Atkins doesn’t just encourage dieters to eat fat, like many people may believe. Atkins encourages you to eat HEALTHY fats, like avocado, nuts, olive oil, Greek yogurt and dairy. I think a lot of people who don’t know much about Atkins think Atkins is all about steak, bacon, sausage and greasy food – I know, because I was one of them!! This is the Atkins pyramid, to give you a better idea of the structure of this diet.
4. More Vegetables - From day one, Atkins encourages the consumption of vegetables, recommending more servings than the USDA guidelines.
5. Atkins is 100% FREE – there is no cost to do the program. Atkins offers an online community, resource center, recipes, tools and meal plans at Atkins.com. You can get some of their yummy bars, snacks and food in stores and online. Click HERE to learn more.
As I was typing this, Steve just text me this text. That stinker dove into MY Atkins bars! I have a feeling we’ll both be doing Atkins next week!!! I better go stock up! haha
Why It Works
Click HERE to get more info, like this video, on why it works.
Here is a great page on more common Truths & Myths (and, again, I admit I believed some of those myths myself!). I am always learning!
Did You Know?
- A low-fat diet is almost always a high-carb diet. When these carbs are low-fiber, the body becomes most vulnerable to blood sugar highs and lows that leave a person hungry and low on energy.
- The Atkins Diet is designed to “flip the body’s metabolic switch” from burning carbs to burning fat. Graduated carb introduction helps avoid blood sugar and insulin spikes, which cause hunger and cravings.
- When eaten in large amounts, carbohydrate (not fat, not protein) is the macronutrient responsible for raising blood levels of saturated fat and triglycerides.
- Excess carbohydrate consumption is responsible for raising triglycerides and lowering “good” (HDL) cholesterol. Have you seen Fat Head? OMG! So interesting!!
- Atkins improves cholesterol profiles and blood sugar levels, as well as other health markers. Following a low-carb lifestyle can also reverse metabolic syndrome and even slow down the progression Type 2 diabetes.
- Atkins is the weight loss plan of choice for the millions of people who have a reduced ability to process carbohydrates – those who have varying levels of “carbohydrate intolerance.”
- The Atkins Diet is backed by more than 80 independent, published, peer-reviewed studies conducted over the past several decades. Recently published medical journal articles that reinforce the unsurpassed effectiveness of the Atkins low-carb approach have appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association, New England Journal of Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine and Lancet.
Follow Atkins to get more tips, facts, news and motivation.
This post is sponsored by FitFluential on behalf of Atkins.
Quick & Easy Arm Workout
If you’re into fitness, you may have heard some chatter about chocolate milk being a good recovery drink. Chocolate milk? Could it be? Is it possible that this yummy childhood favorite is HEALTHY – and not only that, could it be it is actually HELPFUL for athletes and fitness enthusiasts?
So, I began my investigation into this milk chocolatey post-recovery drink option, and here’s what I discovered.
Chocolate Milk – A High Quality Protein?
If you have ever walked into a nutrition store, chances are, you remember seeing whey protein every where you looked. There’s no secret whey protein is the best protein to take when it comes to muscle repair. Whey protein is easily digested and absorbs quickly, which means the essential amino acids get in the blood stream soon after you drink it. Low fat chocolate milk has 8gms of protein, 20% of which is this very valuable whey protein.
Chocolate Milk – The Right Post-Workout Ratio?
Most of us know that milk is a good course of protein, but I’ve always avoided chocolate milk because of the extra calories. Of course if you are dieting, you still want to be careful with how much you consume, but did you know there is a time when sugar can actually HELP you? Yessiree!
The ideal post workout shake actually requires carbohydrates and, in fact, a simple carb (like sugar) is preferred. Why? Because your body needs to restore glycogen stores. When we exercise hard, we deplete glycogen stores in the muscle cell. Glycogen is what our body uses as energy so when we run out of glycogen, we literally run out of energy. The right post-workout drink puts glycogen back in the muscle so it’s ready to go again, and repairs muscle too.
The ideal ratio for a post workout drink is a 3 to 1 ratio (3 carbs to 1 protein), to be consumed right after a workout. Guess what? Yep, you guessed it – chocolate milk has that 3 to 1 ratio! However, this window for maximizing this refueling stage is short – only 20 to 30 minutes following a workout. While I knew the effectiveness of a post workout drink reduces the longer you wait after a workout, I had no idea just how much. One study explained if you wait two hours after your workout to eat, your body’s ability to refuel your muscle reduces by a whopping 50 PERCENT!
So many people are consumed with pre-workout drinks, and what to eat BEFORE a workout, without realizing the importance of their post-workout fuel source. If you want to go the distance and perform well, your next workout really depends on how you refuel after your last workout – and the more I research, the more I realize why more and more athletes drink chocolate milk.
Chocolate Milk – What About Electrolytes?
Out of all my research, this one shocked me the most. In one comparison study, comparing chocolate milk to a popular sports recovery drink, it showed that chocolate milk had everything you need to help return muscles to peek potential. To my surprise, chocolate milk provides fluids and electrolytes – like calcium, potassium and magnesium and sodium. It has B vitamins that help convert food to energy and five bone-building nutrients including calcium, vitamin D, phosphorous, protein and potassium.
BUILT WITH CHOCOLATE MILK
World Champion short-track speedskating legend, Apolo Ohno, has excepted the challenge to translate his power and speed to the sport of triathlon in order to conquer the 2014 IRONMAN World Championship Race in Kona-Kailua, Hawaii on Saturday, October 11. Fans will be able to follow along through the eight-episode, behind-the-scenes content and training tips from Ohno and Ator at www.gotchocolatemilk.com.
Chocolate Milk is the Official REFUEL Beverage of Men’s USA Hockey, Women’s USA Swimming, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series, IRONMAN U.S. Triathlon Series, Iron Girl, Esprit de She, Life Time Fitness Cycle Club and the Challenged Athletes Foundation®.
Whatever you’re building, build it with chocolate milk. Get the research at GotChocolateMilk.com
Connect with Chocolate Milk to learn more!
Most people really like their “box”. They prefer the known – and the familiar. People rarely want to step out into unknown territory. Foreign territory can be scary. It’s unpredictable and it’s normally riddled with questions, fears and objectives – but it’s also where we grow the most.
Time to get out of my box!
3 Months ago, Steve asked me to compete with him. Hmmm…let me think. “No thank you”. Then I felt a tugging, a convicting, followed by open doors and confirmation. It was time to get out of my box.
As we started to make our plan, Steve told me he’d like me to get down to 133, and compete at 129. At 5’9″, I normally weigh 144-146 (16-18% body fat) and couldn’t remember the last time I was below 138, much less in the 120s! Knowing Steve knows what he’s talking about, I said OK, and started my fat loss journey to hit the stage for the first time.
Before I talk about the weight loss highs and lows, I first have to go deeper into the danger of living in your comfort zone. I recently saw a post on instagram that said “the comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there“. How true is this?!
When we step out in faith, we are forced to do things we normally would resist. We find out how strong we truly are, what we really can and cannot handle, and we learn new things about ourselves that we’d never learn if we remained where we were.
For me, stepping out on stage in next to nothing, and high heels, was absolutely completely out of my comfort zone. I’d rather sing the national anthem than stand on stage in a bikini. The crowd doesn’t bother me – I could lead them through a workout, give a diet talk or entertain them with music all night long – but just to STAND THERE and do NOTHING but smile and strike a few awkward poses? OMG! Shoot me now.
But, as I tell all my competitors, it’s not about the stage. It’s not about getting a trophy and it doesn’t matter where you place. The stage is the finish line to a diet and exercise race. It’s not about the end, it’s about the process, the journey. So, I agreed to do it and felt God was telling me I had to get out of my fluffy happy easy box. I obeyed – thinking “Are you SURE you want me to do this? I’m really very ok if you change your mind God. Are you SURE you want me to be half naked? It’s awfully vain God”. He wasn’t buying it. His ways aren’t my ways and evidently He has something He wanted me to learn from this experience. And I do admit, I’m learning a lot.
GROWTH REQUIRES PATIENCE:
I dropped 2lbs a week the first few weeks, then my weight loss started tapering off – more sporadic, more frustrating. It didn’t want to let more fat go, but I stuck with it. It’s just math, it will come off if I follow the rules and don’t give up. Boy was I irritated, thinking, “I wonder if this is as low as my body will let me go. I wonder what I’m doing wrong. How can I not be losing? Why is my weight slowing down?” (mind you, I’ve told hundreds of people why this happens and I know good and well it’s just a temporary sticking phase!) At 139lbs, I wondered if this was good as it was going to get. Ugh! (And I only WISH I could day I had a good attitude while I waited! #EPICFAIL)
GROWTH REQUIRES FAITH:
I hung on to 139 for what seemed FOREVER – but I had faith in the process. So I stayed the course, frustrated but determined. Then BAM! Suddenly I dropped to 135lb last week. This Monday, I weighed in (hoping to break 135), and was shocked to see 133. Today, I reluctantly weighed just to see how I was looking – and I was 129 lbs. Wow! 3 days before the show, and once again, Steve nails it. Talk about dialing someone in! Crazy!! It was my faith in Steve (and in science) that kept me going, knowing that it works for everyone we’ve ever trained and it would work for me too.
GROWTH REQUIRES FAILURE.
Training for a show is the craziest science project I’ve ever worked on! What a cool experiment full of trials and errors along the way. Realize, with the trials, comes the errors (AKA: failure). How can you know what works if you are to scared to find out what doesn’t work? You can’t have success without the risk of failure. Did I fail along the way? Heck yeah! I’d go over my calories one day, and have to do an extra cardio to run it off the next day. I made a few mistakes, but I made a lot more successes. I reached several goals – and I could have never reached one of them if I wasn’t willing to also risk failure.
Was it worth it to step out of my box? I haven’t even stepped out on stage and can already say it totally was worth it already. Even though I still dread the stage, the process has really grown me, and helped me to surpass any goal I’ve ever hit before.
Thank you Steve Pfiester for helping me get out of my box – out of my comfort zone. …and thank you for putting up with my grumpy butt! At least it’s a smaller grumpy butt! I love you! <3
ABOUT THE SHOW
Click here to get information about the NPC Daytona Classic competition Team Max is doing. The Daytona Classic is a relatively new show, but a GREAT show with a fantastic turn out, and put on by a wonderful promoter, Mike Matassa. They always have the best entertainment and programming.
Last year, our team (Team Max) was honored with the best Team Award, recognized for our positive attitudes and support back stage for other competitors. It made us so proud – and we have nearly 20 competitors returning this year to do it all over again!
Go Team Max!
This is a picture of me and my bike for an article in Motorcycle Cruiser Magazine back in February, 2009. I was 37 years old. I wasn’t obese by any means, but I look at this picture and think “who is that?”. She doesn’t even look familiar to me. I’ll tell you who it is. It’s the old me. The older model. Bonnie 3.7
The old Bonnie still worked, but didn’t work as well. Bonnie 3.7 did many of the things the new version does. The old Bonnie worked out. The old Bonnie knew how to eat healthy. The old Bonnie just wasn’t as consistent – didn’t run as well. She ate healthy, but ate too much. She worked out, but she didn’t work as hard. She got a little too comfortable. She kept crashing. She’s wan’t bad. A matter of fact, she was much better than the 3.0 version. But Now There’s a NEWer Bonnie. She is just better, healthier, stronger, fitter. She is Bonnie 4.3. (yes, that stands for 43yrs old!! lol)
Have you ever looked at a new iPhone and wondered “what makes it better?” Of course you’d never say that looking at the old brick cell phones, comparing them to the new smart phone. It’s pretty obvious! But, as technology improves so much, the tweaks almost always are about being lighter, stronger, faster and more reliable. Isn’t that the same with fitness?
As we continue to tweak our fitness, and our physique, we can still make a lot of improvements to help us perform well. It’s not like we are in that bad of shape maybe to begin with, but can we run faster, better, stronger? Like the iPhone, what if we can have all the same “muscle” but we weigh a little lighter – run a little smoother. I loved my first iPhone, but I love my new iPhone even more. I also felt pretty good in 2009, but I feel so much better now – and to think, it was small tweaks that made a 10 pound difference.
10 pounds doesn’t seem that much, and that’s why we use the InBody body composition machine. The InBody tracks what’s actually happening INSIDE of your body, instead of solely relying on the scale as the only measurement of progress. Look at the difference between my body composition then compared to now.
3.7 vs 4.3: The Comparison
THEN: 145lb. NOW: 135lb.
Fat Then: 31lbs. Fat NOW: 15.2lbs.
Lean Mass Then: 114lbs. Lean Mass NOW: 119lbs.
% Fat Then: 21%. Now: 11%
I don’t have any full body shots of me right now(aside from a few shameless selfies! lol) =- but I will next week!!). However, to put things in to perspective, these two photos (left and below) were me 7lbs heavier than I am now (all fat), taken last April.
These two photos also show the difference between what it looks like to just be relaxed (with soft lighting), and be “pumped” (with harsh lighting). The one with the kettlebell is of me after I “pumped up” a little, posing with weights. The one in the suit is at the beginning of the same shoot, before lifting weights. However, there would be no “pumping up” in the world that would have made me look better in that picture of me with the bike. I had a layer of fat covering any muscle I did have.
Get the Upgrade!
Do you want to know what I did to get leaner? I did the same exercise, same running, pretty much the same types of foods. The only difference is I track every calorie in my LoseIt app and consistently stayed on a caloric budget for 3 months. I have a little over a week to go before show time, and seeing this old picture of me online just fuels me to continue pressing toward my goal to beat the old me, and even beat the April 2013 me! As long as I’m breathing, I can always continue to strive to improve, learn, and step out of my comfort zone to be the best version of myself – and YOU CAN TOO!!
My 5 Fitness Tweaks:
1. Less Rest – I rest less between sets and do more conditioning exercise. Instead of old school weight lifting, where I do a few reps and then rest. I do more timed workouts, more reps, more sets, less rest.
2. Count Every Calorie – I don’t just guestimate calories. I weight and measure everything, so I know EXACTLY how many calories I eat each day. This holds me accountable and helps me keep my portions where they need to be. In addition to counting calories, I also watch my carbs. I try really hard to not get more carbs than protein.
3. I Am More Consistent – I have a few rules to keep me on track. I never take more than 3 days off, I always hit the gym every Monday, and I have a weekly goal of a minimum of exercising 3 times a week.
4. I Bounce Back Faster – If I fall off the wagon, I have a plan of attack already in place. I have a cap on the heaviest I’ll allow myself to be. If I hit that cap, there’s no cheating PERIOD. I basically treat it like a maxed out credit card. I hit the limit, and it’s time to pay it off. Once I get my weight back down, then I can have a treat – but until then, I go back to logging food and training until I’ve gotten closer to my ideal weight for maintenance.
5. I Prioritize – I like to lift weights, but I don’t like cardio as much. However, if I’m crunched for time, I have learned to do what my body NEEDS, not just what I WANT. If I need to burn calories more than I need to pump iron, that’s what I do. Before, I would have lifted weights because it was easier. Today, I focus first on calories burned to stay healthy and control body fat, and second on sculpting muscle.
I Will Beat Her
I go ape for bananas. I love banana bread, banana & peanut butter sandwiches and banana pudding, so when Quaker started making banana and cream oatmeal, I finally made oatmeal a part of my daily nutrition plan – until I started dieting. While dieting for my competition, I’ve had to strip away any sugar and keep my foods simple and clean. When you diet for 3 months to this extreme, I get creative so I can still enjoy food without feeling deprived. As I brainstormed on ways to spruce up my plain oatmeal, I decided to make my own healthier version of Quaker’s Banana & Cream Oatmeal.
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup Quaker Oats
3 tsp Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk
1/4 scoop Designer Whey Vanilla Protein
1/4 Banana (thinly sliced)
1-2 tsp Sweetener
1/4 tsp Salt
1/8 tsp Ground Cinnamon
(Optional) Couple of Drops of Butter Extract & Banana Extract
Cook the oatmeal in the water as directed. Reduce heat and add the banana, followed by the almond milk and protein powder, mixing over low heat. Add salt, sweetener and extracts. Add more almond milk if needed (depending on your preference of consistency). Poor into a bowl and sprinkle cinnamon on top to serve.
My Oatmeal vs Prepackaged Oatmeal
4.6 sugar vs 9g sugar
21g carbs vs 26g carbs
7.5g protein vs 3g protein
3.1g fiber vs 2g fiber
Log your food into the LoseIt app and track your calories with me!
Since I’ve been craving salty snacks, I decided I’d make a salty, meaty protein snack similar to beef jerky. This is whey Vaca Frita came to mind. Vaca Frita, which literally means “Fried Cow”, is one of my favorite cuban dishes. Basically, it’s just shredded flank steak and onion cooked in lime juice and then seared with oil on a griddle until crispy – so it’s not so healthy, but super yummy.
So, I started brainstorming on ways to make a healthier version of this yummy Cuban dish. Since I LOVE grilled chicken (because I love the crispy charred flavor), I decided to make a grilled version of Vaca Frita with chicken. Here was what I cooked up.
Vaca Pollo Ingredients
- 4 Chicken Breasts
- 1/2 onion, finely slivered
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1 bay leaves
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (Optional)
- Freshly ground pepper
Cook 4 chicken breasts (I grilled them on the grill after marinading them in lime juice and olive oil). While cooking the chicken, cut the onion up into really thin slivers and set it aside.
(Note: I didn’t use as much onion as I would like to because I wanted to make it as high-protein as possible while I’m dieting.)
Next, in a mixing bowl, mix lime juice, garlic, salt, pepper and bay leaves (and the optional olive oil, which I didn’t use). Once the chicken has been cooked all the way through (keeping it nice and juicy, but not worrying about it being browned or charred on the grill). Shred the chicken up into small pieces and combine with the onion and lime juice mixture until evenly mixed.
Finally, spread the shredded chicken out evenly on tinfoil. Mist with olive oil and dust with salt. Place it back on the grill (I turned my grill up really hot to quickly brown the chicken without over-drying it), occasionally stirring the chicken so it browns as many pieces as possible. Remove when you feel the chicken is crispy but not dehydrated, and let cool. Serve with wedge of lime.
3 Ways to Enjoy Vaca Pollo
Vaca Pollo Snack:
Let the meat cool. Measure out 2oz portions and put in ziplock bags for an easy-access high-protein snack.
Vaca Pollo Salad:
Top mixed greens with 3 – 4oz shredded chicken, 2 T goat cheese and 1/c cup finely sliced pear and top with a light balsamic vinaigrette.
Vaca Pollo Meal:
Top 1/2 cup jasmine rice with 3 – 4oz shredded chicken and serve with a healthy serving of grilled asparagus.
As I prepare for my first competition, I am learning something new everyday. Cutting calories and denying the flesh is HARD (but it’s worth it). Cutting calories for 3 months in a row, logging every single thing that hits my lips (including my 5 calorie gum!) has been exhausting and challenging (but it’s worth it). Dieting 7 days a week, not 4, not 5, not 6, but 7 days a week, for weeks on end has been brutal (but worth it). Going from 18% body fat to 12% body fat (and still dropping!!!) reminds me it’s not for nothing, I am making progress (so, again, it’s worth it).
A few days ago I realized I needed to take my dieting up another notch to break another plateau. I flinched in anticipation of additional struggles, temptations and possible failures. Then I realized this: For some odd reason, I feel God wanted me to step out of my comfort zone to do this dang competition. I would have GLADLY bowed out if He even gave me one inkling of disapproval or a closed door. Instead, it was the opposite. Doors swung wide open, support came, confirmation begun. I began doing it (whining a little as I went – ok whining a LOT! lol), but I’m determined to be obedient. Yes, God. OK, if you say so.
But why in the world does God give a flip about my body fat or me being in a teensy-weensy bikini? Really? As always, His ways are not my ways and I don’t doubt for a second there is a bigger purpose than getting on stage. What am I supposed to learn? How can God use me – backstage, during the training, with our team? These questions are not answered yet, but I have peace I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing and waiting for God to fill in the mysterious blanks, even though there is no part of me that wants to be on stage in a bikini in high heels. Talk about awkward!
Maybe it’s for no one but me. For me to learn more about me, and more about relying on him. To learn how to fight the flesh – with both of my tongues; the one that desires food and the one that spews out mean things when I’m grumpy and short-tempered from the training and dieting. Yes, thank you God for pointing out how just out of control my flesh really is. I see I have a lot more work to do.
Now, going back to cutting calories more: I remembered the scripture “Whatever you do, work at it wholeheartedly as though you were doing it for the Lord and not merely for people” Colossians 3:23. It was this scripture that reminded me who I’m really doing this for. While Steve is the one who really wanted me to do this with him, it was ultimately up to God – and He said Go. So, in reality, I’m doing it for Him. Really? A fitness competition? Scripture doesn’t say “whatever churchy things you do, work at it wholeheartedely”, It says “whatEVER” you do – all of it, EVERYTHING! Yes, even this competition.
That really took things up a notch for me. Christians aren’t whoosies. He deserves my best. I don’t want to be the lame fat chick up there who obviously let my flesh rule me. What a poor representation of God’s power in my life. I’m not giving my best for a trophy, or to get praise from judges or the crowd, but I’m doing it because (for some ridiculous reason) He has called me to this so I am to give my 100%.
Maybe I am supposed to understand what hunger is so I can relate better to clients. Maybe it is so I can understand the pressures of being tempted to enjoy the praise of people, and to be reminded the only praise I need is from God. Maybe it’s for a job opportunity. Maybe it’s just to experience this together with my husband, to draw us closer, to work through our “hangry” arguments from our short-tempered disputes from being low on calories – that might expose stuff in us that we need to continue working on. (God knows I sure have had some ugly come out lately, and it’s made me draw nearer to the Lord in the process).
One thing I know is God can use all of us in EVERY part of our life. Whether in a competition or in a stock room. Whether surfing or singing. No matter how great you are at something, to keep God first – it says a lot. Anyone can run to God when things are tough, or when their life is a failure – but to succeed, to get praise of men and STILL say “that’s great, but I care about only one thing, that I can get to heaven and God say “well done my good and faithful servant” – now THAT’s what I want. The praise of one. My trophy is in heaven.
If you compete, already decide ahead of time, it doesn’t matter what the judges think. That’s merely men’s opinion. Don’t get me wrong, caring what people think about me and fighting my own vanity is just as much a struggle for me as it is to restrict calories or hold my tongue when hurt. However, it’s not a fight I plan to give up on. It’s a lifetime battle – fighting the flesh in every way. So, just as everything else you do in this life, choose to train and diet as if you are doing it for God Himself. I also remind you, He can see if you are cheating or lying to your trainer about what you eat. #JustSaying
You are more than a competitor. You are more than 4th place. You are even more than 1st place. Do not let the crowd’s reaction define who you are. If you compete, use it to fuel you to reach a goal, but realize life is more than looks, body fat or attention. You will get much better, more honorable attention, by living a pure life, an unselfish life, and a life full of love for others. While fitness can be a very vain community if you let it, keep your eyes on eternity and you won’t get caught up in the body-focused world of fitness, but the health-focused self-improvement world of fitness. Work constantly to improve who you are – inside AND out. Remember, your body will shrivel up and eventually not be very attractive, but your spirit can remain beautiful your whole life if you keep your priorities right!
Remember what I posted a year ago – “It would be a shame to work so hard to be fit for this world, and be unfit for the king.”
If you don’t think God has an opinion on fitness and training. Think again! Here’s a great scripture that warns us about bodily training…
“While bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in EVERY WAY, as it holds promise for the PRESENT life and also the life TO COME.” 1 Timothy 4:8