Looking at where you are and choosing to make a lifestyle change can be completely overwhelming. Most people look at the big picture and don’t know where to start. Well, I am going to help you get started. I would hate for anyone to stop before they even begin, so here we go.
1) Pray about it. No, I am not trying to be overly spiritual, but as believers we are called to pray about everything. Yes, the Lord cares and wants to walk with you on this journey. Ask Him where you need start and pray that He would guide you as you set your goals and your plans.
2) If you have any medical conditions or food allergies, PLEASE talk with your primary care physician (PCP) and let them help guide you or at least get you started. If you have old injuries then your PCP may restrict what you can do or give you specific exercises that will assist you as you deal with your injury. When it comes to food allergies, your PCP may direct you to a licensed nutritionist, or you may choose to seek out one on your own. Please do not cut out a single food group, unless there is an allergy because your body needs it all. Yes, you need fat, protein and carbs to keep your body working the way the Lord intended it to.
3) Address your past. Identify the negative behaviors and thought patterns. I can just about guarantee you that all of these things are connected. For some people it may really be as simple as having a long heart to heart with a friend and getting on your face before the Lord. For others, it may be time to seek out a therapist or mental health provider. If most people are honest, there is an unhealthy relationship with food that stems from using food as a coping mechanism in both positive and negative ways. It can be intimidating to pick up the phone and make that call, but I can promise you the fear and maybe even the shame will only last a moment. When you finally start to address the issues that have caused you to feel the way you do and cause you to make the choices you have made you will feel so much better. There are many of you out there who need to hear that certain events were not your fault and you have been carrying around guilt and shame that isn’t yours to carry. There is a freedom in releasing and dropping so much unwanted baggage.
If you are already working with a mental health provider, please make this a part of your sessions. Your therapist will more than likely be on board with this goal and can be there to help you walk through the first part of this journey, which for some, can be daunting to the point that you don’t want to keep going because change is hard.
4) Find an accountability partner. Seek out a friend who will ask the hard questions. Find a friend who will, in love, call you out when you slip, but will also be your biggest cheerleader and celebrate the milestone victories with you. This is not a journey to walk alone. When you have a friend or two walking with you, it makes some days that much easier.
5) Take baby steps. The weight didn’t come on over night and it won’t come off over night. Avoid any diet or program that offers quick or fast results. It won’t last. Choose one single place to start. For some it may be deciding to drink only water. For others it may be choosing not to buy a bag of cookies or chips at the store. For others it may be setting an alarm to get up and walk for thirty minutes in the morning. Pick a small goal that you know you can stick with and once you feel you are being successful, choose something else to add to that. If you decide to make large, sweeping steps all at once, you are setting yourself up to fail. It’s OK to make small changes and build from there. Take it moment by moment and day by day.
6) Don’t compare your journey to another person’s journey. Every person starts in a different place. Your point A probably will not look like another person’s point A. You and a friend can be on this journey together, but five months in it looks like your friend is six steps ahead of you. It’s OK. I promise. You WILL get there.
7) Grace. Give yourself grace. There will be bad days and you will slip. Pray and then give yourself grace to start over the next morning.
I wish I could sit here and tell you that I have it all together and that I have mastered everything I have said you to here. Truth is that I am 15 months into my own personal journey and there are days when I feel like I have conquered the world and other days where I feel like a complete failure. Most days are somewhere in between. I lost a large amount of weight and kept it off for almost six months. Life happened, I let my eating habits slip and didn’t make it to the gym like I needed to and put some of the weight back on. I am now back on track and have lost some what I had gained. This is the reality of this journey. If you have any questions, I would be more than happy to answer them the best I can. If I don’t know the answer, I will direct you in the direction of someone who does. If you just need an ear, please don’t hesitate to call me or PM me on Facebook. I would just encourage you to start somewhere. When you weigh the pros and cons of staying where you are or making the choice to change, change may be hard, but it will be totally worth it in the end.
Grab your water bottle. Lace up your walking shoes and come join me!