I don’t think Emily from 2011 would recognize this new and improved Emily of late 2012. Appearance aside, so much more has changed. Granted, I look at myself every day, so a lot of the physical change isn’t as shocking to me as the emotional, mental and behavioral changes that have taken place over this very long and exhausting year.
I could go into detail about the difference in my fridge or pantry (trust me, it’s huge); I could talk about my attitude towards food, or about my workouts and how I used to view them to how I view them now. But I would rather not.
Instead I want to talk about the reasons why I went through this journey (not that I’m finished) and some valuable lessons I’ve learned.
This all started back in August of 2011 when I wanted to get out of debt. I started to see how much I was spending on eating out and grocery shopping. I hated it! As I began to gain control over my finances, I started feeling confident that I could attack other areas of my life as well.
I made the best decision at that time: I will make lifestyle changes. I will not use a specific fad-diet for a specific amount of time, this will be for good. I could have gone crazy in the beginning but thank God I was smart enough to know I would burn out. I went out to pizza, I had drinks with friends and I ate celebratory dinners. I didn’t do it every day but I wasn’t going to not enjoy my life because I was trying to lose the weight. I will not be able to avoid pizza forever, and I don’t want to! I changed enough that those dinners, or treats, didn’t throw me off track. I started with small changes like quitting Diet Coke. I succeeded and moved on to the next challenge: understanding a calorie. I didn’t make a change I couldn’t maintain. But over time, I was living a whole new life!
I stayed consistent with workouts. When I needed a rest day, I took it. Yes, I got a little crazy when it came to calorie counting. (I still need a PhD to figure out the science of calorie counting). But my friends were there to walk me back off the ledge and remind me of the reality. They encouraged me when I was pouting and felt like nothing was changing and it wasn’t fast enough. I trusted the system: eat clean, workout, it will happen. I’m still not exactly where I want to be, but that’s okay. I’m finally back to a healthy weight. I’m stronger than before, and I’ve actually looked in the mirror and thought, “Wow!” And that never happened before! That was a huge success.
I’ve been able to address my struggles and attack them. They don’t own me and they don’t define me unless I let them. I’ve still got a little ways to go. And even when I get there, cause I will get there, I can’t quit. Maintenance is hard too. But what I’ve also realized is that life is more than attaining a good-looking body and a positive outlook on life.
Life is more than bragging about living at the gym. It’s more than having the will-power to say ‘no’ to a piece of cake. Life is more than looking in the mirror and finally liking what you see. These are good things. These are goals to work toward. But life is really about relationships. Are you killing it at the gym to the detriment of your relationship with the Lord? Are you spending time with your friends? Are you involved in your community? How is your life making an impact in this broken world?
I recently had to face these questions. It was convicting. I couldn’t help out in the community because I had to be at the gym. That’s not living. That’s bondage. Only you know what’s going on in your life and what the Lord is calling you toward. Working on creating a temple for His presence is so important, but that is not our ultimate goal. He is.