Friday, November 17, 2017

My journey to discover health

I remember hearing at a young age that your stomach should never block your view of your feet. I know that sounds silly, but I still remember hearing that, all these years later. I’m not sure when I was aware of weight or body image, but I know I was young. I thought eating less would make me thin, up until I was 22 years old. All those years until then were filled with a misconstrued idea of food that only took me further from what health actually is. 

When I was 14 I found myself in the emergency room, after leaving volleyball practice early one day, nearly passing out from exhaustion. I would drink a protein shake for breakfast, snack on a power bar for lunch, and drink an energy drink before practice and that was usually it. The doctor told me I was using so much energy, with not enough fuel to keep me going. It makes sense, of course, but at the time, I wasn’t thinking about my health. 

This unhealthy mentality stayed with me into college, where I would often have protein shakes as my meals...the end. Soon I learned that fast food restaurants were open late in big cities, and my friends all went together to break up study time. I also learned we could afford fast food, thanks to the dollar menus. This spiraled into a pattern of salads at the school cafeteria, and ice cream late at night. 

I like to workout. And I have always been active; ballet, volleyball, then slowly getting into weights, then yoga. I knew enough about working out by the time I was in college, but my relationship with food was messy. I knew a lot less than I thought I did, which left me working out more to compensate for my eating habits that I didn’t know how to manage. 

After I had my precious Emma, when I was 22, I had decided to start preparing for a body building competition, and I started learning more about macro-nutrients and the way our bodies use food. While this taught me so much, and I am deeply thankful for that learning time, I still wasn’t healthy. I would consume a pound of ground turkey breast in one sitting just to meet my protein goals for the day. I’m grossed out just typing that. I would drink strange, colorful drinks that only had 40 gram of protein and 0 grams of carbs or fat (how do they do that?). Although I met my goal, I stepped on stage, and actually competed, I wasn’t in a healthy mind set. I would have eaten anything if you told me it would get me to my goal. Yuck. 

I’ve learned that I don’t want to sacrifice my health as a whole for any one piece of it. Health is not just good foods to eat. It includes your mind and your body, both inside and out, and I believe your spirit as well. I will eat food that makes me feel good. I will eat colorful, dense, real foods. I will put things into and on my body because they are pure and beneficial, not flooded with chemicals and questionable ingredients. I will workout because I enjoy it and because it benefits not only my body and mind, but it will keep me here longer for my family. It will instill good work ethic and discipline into my children. I want my children to see their mom wake up early, study scripture, workout hard, eat with care, and live a long life, free of ailments that will inhibit my health as a whole. We are to honor our bodies as the gift that they are. That's why I want to love and care for my body. 

1 Corinthians 6:19 NIV

“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”

In treating my body like I value myself, physically, in turn it's allowed me to love what's inside as well. 
In learning about God, I've learned he loves us no matter what. His love doesn't have conditions and isn't based on how well we do things or how smart or pretty we are. Once I was able to fully comprehend this piece, it's transformed how I view myself. In the passage below, Paul talks about how physical training is good, but "godliness has value for all things", suggesting that we should train our hearts spiritually as well, since our hearts will last beyond the lives of our physical bodies. 
 Bottom line, treat your body well, be good to it. Fuel it with nourishment, both in foods and in community and Scripture. That, I believe is health.

1 Timothy 4:8 NIV

"For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come."

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