Updated: Oct 28, 2020
It's been the theme of the last several years of my life: throw the formula out the window. Do what you know to do and leave the results to God.
I'm such a control freak by nature. I like to have a plan that I know will get me from point A to point B as quickly and painlessly as possible. I don't like roadblocks, construction delays, or God forbid, DETOURS.
Then I had a child with Down syndrome. Like I said, I'm sensing a theme...
My journey to becoming fit and healthy in every way isn't going along as quickly or easily as I feel like it could. Injuries, changes in medication that have monstrous side-effects, stupid Coronavirus, and so on have tried to thwart me. But I press on.
The scale laughs at me, but I've decided not to let it get to me. I ignore it for the most part. Every once in a while I step on to see if there's been any significant movement. It's not impressive. My love for bread and sweetened coffee creamer has not diminished enough to lose more than that 30 pounds I lost in the first part of the year. (I know the formula for measurable weight loss, but I can't always find the formula to make my brain agree to do it.)
What HAS changed significantly enough that I have to stop and take notice is my muscle tone! I was in the shower the other day and as I washed my arms, I noticed that all of the sudden, they're more solid. I stopped for a minute and looked, rubbing the soap up and down my shoulder and upper arm. No movement! No jiggle! Stunned, I checked underneath. Still plenty of jiggle there... But I could actually feel little baby muscles poking through the fluff. HOLY MOLY. (The rest of it can't be too far behind, right?)
My legs and core are significantly stronger too. I noticed it the other day when I was standing in one place, talking to a friend, and realized I didn't feel the need to shift my weight around. I felt perfectly comfortable standing still. For years I was puzzled that I could walk or sit, but standing in one place soon left me short of breath and miserable. It never crossed my mind that my muscles weren't strong enough to support the weight of my body. They are now.
Nearly five months of hard work and increasing my weights regularly and I'm finally noticing results.
Other things have changed too. This week, I realized I've been doing push ups incorrectly all my life. One small tweak changed everything, and made a big difference if that can be measured by how sore my muscles are today.
Last week, my trainer talked me through the difficulty I had doing complicated plank exercises. Rather than holding the plank position steady, they often ask us to rock back and forth, lift our arms and legs, or use sliders and draw our feet up under our bodies - while holding our hips as still as possible. Fancy planks. I hated them because it felt like my back was going to bend the wrong direction and break in two! I was frustrated because it felt like my core was just as weak as ever. Commands to pull my belly button in only made my back feel weaker and more at risk of injury.
As I talked through my frustration with my trainer, she told me to t focus on holding my back straight and strong. That simple change of instruction was exactly what I needed. I was suddenly able to do many of the fancy planks without modification! Whoa.
Having a personal trainer to guide me and help me think through the mental part of getting in shape has made a huge difference. I can follow a video online, but who is checking to be sure my form is correct or talking me through mental blocks? Not the video instructor! Who is pushing me to keep going when I want to quit? MY TRAINER.
I've exercised off and on for years and this program is so different. I'm seeing real results that are incredibly encouraging. It was very hard to get myself to training this morning, but I thought about the changes I've seen. I remembered how I've slipped out of the habit in the past by just staying home one time, and I got dressed and went in. Even though I was dragging and didn't feel like it, I did the challenging exercises and left feeling accomplished and energized for my day.
Taking care of my body is also a spiritual discipline. My body has to be strong enough to do the things I feel called to do. I have to have better recovery times so I'm free to embrace a full schedule. I'm also a much better wife and mother when I have the energy to keep up with my family. I'm not only doing this for me, but as an act of love for them. Who will have to take care of me if I don't take care of myself? My precious children and husband - who have their own lives to live, their own callings from God. We have enough things to deal with that we have no control over.
Road blocks and detours are just a part of life. I'm choosing to breathe deeply through my frustration, accept the inevitable delays and my lack of control over them, and do what I can. I'm so thankful for the changes I am seeing, and I look forward to discovering the benefits of a lifetime of disciplined self-care.
If you enjoyed reading this post, please hit that little red heart at the bottom of the post. Leave me a comment to let me know if it encouraged you. I also just posted a new video on YouTube of my last blog post - God Uses Sinners. If you have a few minutes, will you check it out and give me a thumbs up or drop a comment? Thanks!