Females and Faux Fitness

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Even though it was crazy busy last week between so many activities AND Easter, I still managed to get out and exercise quite a bit!  The Lazy Ironman challenge has really inspired me!

running club

We took this picture after our run… and my kids smoked me by half a mile!

Not to pat myself on the back, but I swam about a quarter of a mile, and ran or hiked 9.5 miles mostly with my kids. And when I look at these numbers on the wall I feel pretty darn accomplished – specially knowing that I ran and hiked with my family so my children are reaping these fitness benefits too.

Can I be completely honest? I didn’t feel that accomplished when I got dressed for service Easter Sunday.  Do I really look THIS big? I can’t believe I weigh 211 lbs at the doctor’s office!  Ugh I’m not making any progress at all.  I think if we’re both honest, you could probably point out some season in your life when you are less than thrilled with your appearance or the number of the scale.

But why?

My husband is happy.  My kids are happy.  So what is it about the bathroom mirror that tears me down?

http://instagram.com/confessions1rst

I will share with you a lie I accidentally bought into: if I was truly fit, I would look fit.

But to understand how this is a lie, we first have to answer: What does it mean to look fit?

The reality is that we are so bombarded with images of thin women on social media, that our brains can’t help but play the comparison game.  I mean, I see this girl run 5 miles and look like she has just a sun-kissed glow of perfection – and all before breakfast… meanwhile I fall behind my children, barely running a mile and a half, bending over looking like a fish out of water, my face blotchy, my hair looking like a lollypop for a llama… and it’s definitely not #selfie worthy.

runfie

What exactly does it mean to look fit? Is it a size number? A distinct shape of the waist line?

And this is where – in the name of sanity I yell at myself and all of you who get caught in this trap – STOP!

What was your goal to begin with?

If your goal is to look like a sportswear model, then you need to eat and work out and be photoshopped like one. And there are very fit women who are NOT photoshopped, but I guarantee you they eat very strictly and train for hours (that’s right… more than 60 minutes!) every day.  Some of these women have made this lifestyle their job and their mission.  I’m not saying it’s not admirable, I’m asking: Is looking like a sportswear model your job and your mission?

If yes, disregard this blog post and move on.

But if not – because maybe like me, we’ve devoted our lives to something other than exercise and mason jar salads… then it shouldn’t matter whether we look like we sell sportswear or not, right?

Hear me out here: I have devoted my life to raising and homeschooling my children.  So while my husband goes to work and devotes to his vocation in the medical field, I spend an equal 8 hours at home educating, grading, planning, problem solving, cleaning and feeding three children (how I got here is a whole ‘nother story – check out my recent guest post!).  If you are a mom or a business woman or in ministry, nod your head if you can agree with me when I say, “I don’t have hours to devote myself to looking like a stranger on my screen.”

And maybe we can even go a little Spirit-filled and declare:

13 For you created my inmost being;
    you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
    your works are wonderful,
    I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
    when I was made in the secret place,
    when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Psalm 139:13-15

This isn’t a call to give up on being fit, but rather to trash our preconceived and erroneous notions of what that means!

alaskan hike

Getting my kids to these kinds of views is how I know I’m fit!

Give God some glory and thank Him for how wonderfully made you are! Use fitness and eating healthy as a way to glorify the Lord for making you a temple where He chooses to reside.  Remember that “in Him we live, and move, and have our being”!  What you need in order to exercise for 30 minutes (or more!) today He has already given you, and He didn’t short-change you when he put you together.

Do you need to do a little mental spring cleaning when it comes to your body image?  What are some lies you need to renounce today before you lace up your shoes?

Let’s Do An Ironman!

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Confession: I don’t really know what motivates someone to run for 26.2 miles, but I’ve always been fascinated by the Ironman competition.  I’ve put it on my bucket list to finish one, some day.  Although if I’m honest, it seems too unattainable for me.  Rheumatoid Arthritis is not very merciful and I’ve never really been an athlete to begin with.

runningThis is what draws me all the more!  There’s a deep desire within me that, just like David when he defeated Goliath, I could beat the odds, work really hard… and not die on such a race (hey I’m NOT that optimistic.  I don’t want to win it! I just want to do it!).  I think that’s something that calls to all of us in one way or another; we all aspire to DO that which feels a little out of reach – like buying a house, or building a successful blog legacy, or losing the pregnancy weight I’ve been carrying the past 7 years (did I say that outloud?).

Do I have your permission to get a little real here?

  • “Women’s Fitness” online is a JOKE.  The perception of what a “fit woman” looks like is based on the expensive “work out” attire they want to sell you and has nothing to do with what REAL WOMEN look like!  If I wait until I look like Kate Hudson or Carrie Underwood do start getting serious about my fitness… Well let’s just say don’t hold your breath.
  • BMI = Bolony of Mass Idignation.  By my BMI standards I’m obese… and apparently so is P!nk, who looks like she could squat a buick.  I know I need to lose weight for healthier joints, but I’m never going to see 140 lbs – I kissed that weight goodbye in Jr. High.
  • I’m not motivated enough to do this alone.  Who really wants to get up at 6am to exercise?  Who wants to go for a run instead of taking a glorious and much needed nap? Who says they enjoy lifting weights?!  Masochists, every single one of you!  Whether it’s laziness or RA-related fatigue, I’d rather be on a recliner, reading. (Ok, I’m not that bad.  I’m just not that commited!).biking with Caleb
  • I love to eat all kinds of foods.  I don’t go hangry, and I don’t diet.  I may cut CRAP out for periods at a time (Carbonated drinks, Refined Sugars, Artificial Flavors, and Processed foods). I will not lose weight by restrictive eating… and I don’t believe that’s healthy for you either.

So it’s not about a size on my pants, or a number on the scale, or finishing first in the “Why Not Tri” Triathlon I registered our family for in June.  At the end of the day, when my knees sound like I’m hiding a bag of Cheetos in there, and I can’t raise my arms above my head or hold a pencil because the swelling can get so bad…

… I just want to celebrate what my body CAN do! I want to look at myself in the mirror and say, “Yeah! This girl swims 30 minutes every week!  And she has ran up to 8 miles straight! And she can Zumba for hours!”

Isn’t it time we faced fitness as the godly women that we are?  With a foundation on Biblical truths and not the condemnation of failing to meet some photoshopped worldly standard?  With rejoicing in that we are truly “fearfully and wonderfully made”?

So this is why I’m saying: Let’s do an Ironman!

My small group leaders (who are very healthy both spiritually and physically) and I came up with this idea, having just completed another exercise challenge, of doing a Lazy Ironman.  It means we do an Ironman but spread out over two months (or more).

  • Swim 2.4 miles.
  • Bike 112 miles.
  • Run 26.2 miles.
  • If you do any other non-mileage related activity, you can credit a mile for every 15 minutes of exercise towards any of these activities.
  • Complete by July 1st, 2017.

after a swimWell I had so much fun creating my little spreadsheet to track my miles, that I decided to share it with you! I would love for you to join me in this challenge.  We even have a private Facebook group for motivation and support – just email me/private message me through Facebook and I’d be happy to add you!

Are you ready to do a Lazy Ironman with me? Click to download your tracking log and get started.

Just make sure you get the Doctor’s approval first, ok? Don’t go hurting yourself. I’m not a medical professional or a fitness professional.  I’m just a mom, standing in front of a mirror, trying to get into a pair of jeans without using all my yoga skills.  I’m going to move a little every day – at least 30 minutes – and I’m inviting you to move with me!

Can’t wait until we can look back and see all we were able to do in these very bodies.  Writing it down makes a world of difference.

What are some frustrations you face in trying to be fit?

 

Faith and Fitness Building Music

My dear friend Lo Tanner shared on her email list a play list of worship songs that help carry her through difficult moments.  It inspired me to share a little list of my own…

Confession: Exercising NOW is increasingly more difficult than it was 3 years ago.  Where I used to run 5 miles, now I struggle to walk one.  Where I used to squat 80 lbs, now I have a hard time getting up from the couch.  Where I was a Zumba instructor and I used to teach one hour classes, now I find myself successful if I get through 20 minutes of yoga.

Life happens and Rheumatoid Arthritis sucks. But I know I need to keep moving.  My fitness goals have changed to reflect that, but I’m not going to lie: When I hit the work out zone, I beat myself up a lot.  It’s so difficult to NOT get discouraged.

This is why now, more than ever, I need to build my faith along with my fitness.  I can’t compartmentalize, these two are indistinguishable from each other.  So whether it’s the motivation to stay on the treadmill five more minutes, or not give up on the yoga, I need the words in my headphones to be more powerful than the self-defeating lies that creep up every time…

… and a nice beat helps too…

Here’s a list (in no particular order) that has both!

  • Pentatonix “Can’t Hold Us” – don’t ask, it just works.
  • Beckah Shae “I’ll Be Alright”
  • Beckah Shae “Life”
  • Beckah Shae “No More” – ok so I really recommend her. But this one here is my power song!
  • Mercy Me “Move”
  • Kerrie Roberts “Outcast”
  • Mary Mary “Shackles (Praise You)” – yup, I just dated myself here… I’m a dinasour.
  • Melinda Watts “So Good”
  • Ayiesha Woods “Crazy”
  • Cadia “Inside Out”

I’ll interject here, that I’m not always needing something to pump up my cardio to 140 bpm.  I like listening to stuff that gets me pumped, but also that helps me maintain endurance; if it keeps a steady rhythm, and it verbally encourages me not to give up, then it makes my list.

  • DC Talk “Jesus Freak” – I’m pretty sure my T-Rex arms give me away by now… I’m so old…
  • Group 1 Crew “His Kind of Love”
  • John Reuben “Do Not”
  • Jonathan Thulin “Dead Come to Life” Featuring Charmaine
  • Lecrae “Give In” Featuring Crystal Nicole)
  • Newsboys “God’s Not Dead”
  • Rachel Lampa “Savior Song”
  • Jars of Clay “Dead Man (Carry Me)” – appropriate after Leg Day
  • Jars of Clay “Flood”
  • Third Day “Lift Up Your Face”
  • Jimmy Needham “Come Thou Fount”
  • Grits “Fly Away”

Go ahead and check some of these out on Spotify or iTunes and add them to your work out playlist.


Do you have any faith-based work out songs you’d recommend? Share below!

The Math Behind The Exercise

Confession: I’d love to say I’m always that motivated or active but I love sitting around and being lazy more.

As far as calories go, in order to not gain weight or keep a healthy balance you are supposed to burn as many calories as you eat on a day to day basis.  There is an amount of calories you burn just by existing – your Basal Metabolic Rate.  This is the burning of calories in your sleep.

On an average for me I have a BMR of about 1500 calories, and there are calculators to help you figure yours out (rough estimate). Then there’s the amount of calories you eat a day (and the sources of those calories).

If you have the need to lose weight you need to have a deficit of calories burned versus calories consumed by about 400 calories.  In this light, you can just take fitness and health and make it a concept of watching what you eat and call it good, right?

I’m not very good at yoga, but man do I love stretching! Specially the muscles I use to run!

Not entirely.  Your body needs exercise more than just to balance the amount of calories in and out so that you can justify that 800 calorie slice of cheese cake.

Muscles atrophy.  Joints lose cartilage.  Bones lose density.  You lose range of motion, strength and flexibility.  The truth is, your body will get rid of that which you do not use regularly.

(Think for a minute of chicken.  How easy is it to snap a chicken wing versus a thigh?  The chicken wing is very easy to snap because it is a non-weight-bearing bone, and chickens don’t fly.)

So for these reasons we need to MOVE.  Exercise also releases endorphins, helps balance our moods and hormones, regulates hunger, and helps provide a useful outage for the adrenaline released by stress.  This  useful outage of adrenaline is a big deal because if you don’t put your body to use the adrenaline appropriately (through cardiovascular exercise), it will damage your body’s ability to burn fat and metabolize energy!

Before I was a homeschooling mom, my favorite job was at Veterinary clinics. I was a receptionist. I also poured out 2 years of over-time, and Saturdays, 0 vacation, no camping trips that I can never get back and give to my husband and kids now. My kids were raised by day care centers and I will never have three to four year olds again. I worked hard, not smart, and I missed out on a lot.

All this to say: You may be a person who barely eats 1000 calories a day because you are vegan and don’t have a large appetite.  In the same manner, you may have a desk job that requires you to sit 8 hours a day.  If you are a relatively carefree person, a little morning yoga may be all you need to be healthy!  But if that desk job causes you stress or anxiety – and you have moments where you want to pull your hairs out… you are not doing for your body what you need!

If you’re like me before I became a full-time homeschooling mom, I was sitting at a desk 9 hours a day 5-6 days a week, very stressed, eating well over my BMR, not sleeping well, and not having the mental or physical wherewithal to exercise… Habits of the “average American”, and my body paid full price for it when I was taking 8 pills a day just to get me out of bed.

On the flip side, if you are an active person who burns about 2500 calories a day because your job requires you to move all the time, doing about five miles a day just in your job alone… and you don’t eat the amount of nutritious calories you NEED, you are hurting your body.

So for the next two days, take an honest assessment of how active you are through out the day and what kind of exercise do you need.  It doesn’t always have to be a P90X + Insanity exercise day.  It may be more reasonable for you to adjust your diet and handle light, low impact exercise in order to be at your healthiest (please don’t put yourself in a position to need knee replacement surgery and then say I gave you health advice!).  The reason why all fitness programs say to CONSULT YOUR DOCTOR is because a Doctor can give you an accurate picture of the exercise you need. But while you wait, do something fun! Move a little, or a lot! Try to get more movement in your day!

Healthy Moms Pray

“An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy” Spanish Proverb

Confession: I am fasting my personal Facebook Newsfeed in exchange for more prayer time and less politics.

And I have learned that, in order to maintain myself at my healthiest, I have to pray – regularly and often.  It’s not that there’s anything magical about prayer (although there is a supernatural element), it’s just that momhood is by far the most difficult thing we’ll ever do.

For all the mom-bashing and blogs on both sides of any fence, there is no manual or instruction book.  Really.  Every child is a unique combination of DNA and experiences that even within ONE household, how you parent one child may not necessarily work for the next one!

Fortunately we DO have guidance! And it’s found in God’s Word.  I cannot think of a verse to answer whether you should eat glutten free or vaccinate.  Free range versus helicopter mom? Who knows?! But the Bible gives us foundational wisdom that helps us to check our attitudes at the very depths of our being, in order to make every decision for each and every child with our hearts and minds in the very best place.

For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart. – Hebrews 4:12 HCSB

I’ve often shared that balance is the key to health and fitness.  And a healthy body cannot even be reached if your soul and your relationships are off kilter.

This is why I love Doorposts.  I’m not an affiliate with them but I have used some of their material.  I received a piece for free in exchange for a review on my blog.

I came to know about Doorposts through my Faith Homeschool Co-Op.  We have catalogs and a Mommy library, from which I borrowed some of their materials and used it for my own personal Bible Study and Devotion.

The first resource I used from them was “30 Days in Colossians 3“.  I have never devoted so much time to one chapter.  I have never done so much high lighting and notes.  But it was mind-transforming!  What I learned from this chapter planted a seed in my heart that transformed my attitude and my disposition towards my kids.  As you may already know, I homeschool, so we get on each other’s nerves during the day.  Maintaining a God-honoring attitude that allowed me to have a pleasant day with three kids AND not dive into a tub of ice cream AND set aside some time to exercise is not always easy, but it is doable if the foundation of your day – your attitude – is in the right place!

Next, they sent me a free sample of their “Love Is…” Chart and Bible Study for the family.  It goes over 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 in detail.  It was DEEP!  Like, we’re still working through it and revisiting deep.

Every fragment of that verse is broken up into key points to learn about God’s character, how Jesus showed us this character trait, and what the Bible expects of us as His believers.  So if you wonder how we are still working through those three verses, it’s because every day we read about 50 verses from all over Scripture!

I also love their action points – I used them as journal entries – that got the kids thinking about how to apply it to their lives.

And when we had incidents where the kids were less than loving, there is a chart above our fish tank (crooked, I know) that we went back to in order to discuss the disciplinary issue at hand.

Many moms know that it’s difficult to carve out the time for our personal discipleship without neglecting the kids, and much like when I exercise, I try to have the kids join me in my Bible studies so that we proverbially kill two birds with one stone.  I need to study God’s Word, and they do too, might as well do it together.  Doorpost’s resources are designed to make THIS work!  They are for the homeschooling Mom who may read a small devotional in the kitchen over coffee or may have to do it while rocking a sick baby over one shoulder, or with the kiddos around you during “circle time”.  I have yet to meet a Christian publishing company that “gets it” quite like Doorpost.

Next I’m looking at the Busy Mom’s 30 Day Guide through 1 Corinthians 13.  I personally love their mom devotionals more than anything.  You can really soak it in!

The key point is, to be at our healthiest as Moms, we need to be moms who pray.  Prayer is a two-way communication with God where we talk to Him and (let’s not forget this crucial part) God talks to us through His Word.

My fitness journey began with prayer.  I had to get my heart and mind centered on the right things.  I needed to clear myself of a lot of lies.  I also needed supernatural intervention in a lot of outside areas so that I could make it.  If you want to wait for your kids, your body, your schedule, your finances, your home, your marriage and your work to just “fall into place” harmoniously before you start taking ownership of your health… Well… You will probably be sitting there a LONG time.

#Prayer gives us the courage to live with a #noexcuses attitude in regards to our #health

How do I incorporate prayer in to my diet and exercise all the while juggling all my other responsibilities as a mother? Here’s what I pray for:

  • I ask God to give me the strength to do what is important even when I’m tired.
  • I memorize Scripture to recite while I’m at a difficult point in the exercise and I want to quit.
  • I turn to worship music to fill my soul when I’m tempted to open the fridge door for comfort.
  • I drink water while I read my Bible.
  • I give to the Lord the priorities of the day, and ask Him to help the children and I cooperate so that we get the important things done.
  • I make exercise a God-honoring, important thing – right up there after reading my Bible and praying every day.

So go check Doorposts out, and take a peek at their resources.  And pray!  The beautiful thing is, the Bible says we serve a God whom we can approach confidently or boldly.  He invites us to the throne of grace for us to present our needs to Him.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, so that He may exalt you at the proper time,[a] casting all your care on Him, because He cares about you. – 1 Peter 5:6-8 HCSB