Monday, June 1, 2015

Content, not complacent

A woman's body image has a lot to do with her self-esteem.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is either in denial or is not a woman.  That said, I have never been very vain.  I don't wear very much makeup and I am no fashionista.  (The style police at work have to keep me in line.)  I've always contended that true happiness comes from finding peace with the Lord and fulfillment in Him.  I tend to find my self-esteem from my work, whether it was as a mother, as a guidance counselor or even as a ministry leader.  With my endeavor to become fit, I have found a new sense of joy.  This is not so much vanity, but  truly feeling comfortable in my skin.

You keep him in perfect peace
whose mind is stayed on you,
because he trusts in you.
Isaiah 26:3

There are tremendous benefits from being physically healthy.  Being a healthy weight takes years off your appearance.  You feel better, you sleep better, you are happier.  The excess fat causes hormonal imbalances that diminish with the weight loss.  You will have a new lease on life.

This was taken last week when I was on vacation visiting my family in Florida.

Furthermore, I can't begin to explain the sense of satisfaction when you overcome, or work through physical challenges.  This is something I never appreciated.  I was not athletic, I always believed I was not cut out for sports.  When I was in elementary school in gym class, when we did the President's Challenge, I always failed and was so embarrassed.  I remember that stupid rope that extended from the ceiling of the gym with big knots in it and the gym teacher wanted us to climb the rope.  I could never get high and was mortified because it seemed like the rest of the class could go all the way to the top.

Now that I can do push-ups (I can regularly do three sets of 15 push-ups, with a max of 20), I am working on pull-ups.  I really want to master these and they are HARD!  When I was 10 years old, I could not do even one pull-up.  I really want to beat this and I will let you know when I do.  This is a challenge I set for myself, which allows me to work harder.  Being content, not complacent.

Disclaimer:  This is NOT me!

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.  I can do everything through him who gives me strength.
Philippians 4:12-13

I recently found my Weight Watchers weight record from 2012.  I noticed something about the log.  I was losing about 1 - 2 lbs. per week until August.  I hurt my knee at the end of July and could hardly walk.  I had a cortisone shot to help me deal with the pain and an MRI which showed nothing conclusive wrong (just arthritis).  From that point, I started gaining 1 - 4 lbs. per week until I quit in October.  I can see that I gave up.  I became complacent and did not work through my obstacle.  I let it beat me.

I could re-injure my knee and be laid up again.  There is always that chance.  Fortunately, my trainer has me working to strengthen the muscles in my leg, so hopefully that won't happen.  I also have a support system to help keep me going and a sense of determination which I have never felt before.  I pray that the combination of these will result in me not allowing obstacles to derail me, should I suffer another injury.

I regularly hear this from people, "You're not still losing weight, are you?"  So let me tell you...NO, I am not trying to lose weight anymore.  This is not my goal.  My goals are to beat those pull-ups, continue to reduce body fat and to accomplish longer rides on my bike with improved times.  I am content, not complacent.

For godliness with contentment is great gain.
1 Timothy 6:6

I love this song:

Sheryl Crow

I don't have digital.
I don't have diddly squat.
It's not having what you want.
It's wanting what you've got.
I'm going to soak up the sun.
I'm going to tell everyone to lighten up.
I'm going to tell 'em that 
I've got no one to blame.
For every time I feel lame, 
I'm looking up.
I'm going to soak up the sun.

This song rings the importance of being content.  It's NOT having what you want.  It's wanting what you've got.  I love the message!!!!!  Are you comfortable in your skin?  Are you happy with who you are inside and out?  The journey towards becoming fit is exactly that - a journey.  I takes the first step to get going on the journey.  Don't be hard on yourself, lighten up!  When you are feeling lame, just look up and soak up the sun.  Just keep moving forward, that's the only way you will accomplish your goals.

Sunset from Ponce De Leon Park in Punta Gorda, FL

One more thing...
As a side note, I saw this on Instagram recently, "Why would you make fun of a fat person at the gym when you have visible evidence that they are actively trying to fix the problem?"  This struck me.  I remember when I first went back to the gym in 2014.  I was making no progress, I hated working out and I felt like people were staring at me.  I was so self-conscious.  That was one of the reasons I got a trainer because I knew I would learn the right things to help me improve, which relieved so much of my feeling awkward.  My trainer will tell you that I still feel awkward because I will refuse to do certain things if I see someone I know at the gym.  He just shakes his head.  He's probably thinking, "Tracey, come on, seriously!"  So I totally get the feeling.  But I will tell you this, now that I workout just about every day.  NO ONE really notices you at the gym.  We are pretty much involved with our own workouts and thinking about our own thing that we don't pay attention to other people.  That self-conscious feeling is completely on you and my best advice is to get a gym partner to help distract you from that feeling.  So, you've got no one to blame...just get yourself to the gym!

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