I recently had some dental work done to fix alignment issues in my mouth. The treatment was pretty straight forward:
I was to pay x amount, follow the instructions attentively and in x weeks I will achieve x results.
The more I thought about it, the more it sounded like how I use to view my work as a personal trainer.
Clients would pay x amount, follow the instructions carefully, and in x weeks they would achieve x results.
Both of these equations lead to a positive end result. The difference between these two equations, however, was that one ends in lasting change all the time, the other does some of the time. Can you guess which one is which?
The answer is in the roots. See, my dental changes are a permanent change because my dentist made sure to address the problem deeper than the surface level. In my early days as a personal trainer though, my guidance and strategies often seemed to just stay at the surface--clients would commit to my program, loose weight, stop the program, gain the weight back. What I didn't realize at the time was that our health and weight journey is usually grounded in deep emotional, psychological, and/or spiritual roots. Let's dig a little deeper :)
In order to achieve lasting positive change (results) in our health, we must discover what caused the breakdown (weight gain, lack of strength, lack of energy, etc) in the first place. Do you suffer from shame? Guilt? Perfectionism? Loneliness? Fear of failure? Fear of starting?
In the past, when I’ve told myself that I’m too busy to make time for myself and my health, it's usually a cover story. We all have 24 hours in the day. Why do we feel the need to stuff our day and leave out any ounce of white space? I ask this of myself as much as I ask you these questions. What am I trying to accomplish with all the busyness? Am I trying to prove that I have what it takes? Am I trying to show that I'm good enough, smart enough, strong enough, _____(insert your heart's cry)_____. Are we getting closer to one of your roots that has been preventing you from lasting change with your health (or any other area of your life)?
I have been on a journey recently to intentionally take things off my plate, to say "no" when needed, and NOT replacing those things with something else. It is very difficult to say no and to choose one thing over another. But every yes I offer is a no to something or someone. I can choose to be more intentional with my time, priorities, and schedule.
We can do all the right things for weight loss, but until we tackle the root of the issue, we will just transfer our bad eating or exercising habits to something else.
I recognized recently (with the help of my friend Susie Larson) that I have been striving in a specific area of my life. When I look at the root of this, it comes down to fear. I’m afraid that I may not be enough or worse, that God may not be enough. I know in my heart that God CAN DO all things. I know in my heart that I am a child of God. So why does my head worry so much about a few things? I was led to this verse about abiding with God and I hope it speaks to your heart like it spoke to mine:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me” (John 15:4).
Jesus is the vine and when we abide in him, we have peace. I gave my striving to God and I give it to him every time I feel that fear or uncertainty or anxiety creep in.
Today, I encourage you to set aside some time or take a few minutes to plan a time when you could do some self-discovery to look for the roots of why you do what you do. Need a guidance where to start? In Living Wellness for Growth Groups Week One, we dig deeper into your "roots" with questions like:
- "Growing up, what was your family’s relationship with food, fitness, nutrition, and exercise?" (p. 37)
- "What does an abundant life look like to you?" (p. 38)
- "Your identity plays a role in your ability to live life abundantly. Where does your identity come from?" (p. 39)
Another strategy I recommend is investigating your "Root Why"
"Why is a question we will ask throughout this entire journey. When you ask (and answer) the question 'why' authentically, you will discover your motivations or your reasons for doing things. Your motivations for becoming healthier will affect your long-term success. For example, desiring to lose twenty pounds for a reunion may motivate you in the short term, but wanting to be around and active for your grandchildren or not wanting to place preventable burdens on those around you because of failing health will have more of a lasting impact on your long-term health decisions.
Example of asking the root why:
- Why do you want to be healthy?
- I want to lose twenty pounds.
- Why do you want to lose twenty pounds?
- I want to look better.
- Why do you want to look better?
- So I feel more confident.
- Why do you want to feel more confident?
- So I set a good example for my children.
- Why do you want to set a good example for your children?
- So they grow up confident and free to be who God created them to be.
We went from wanting to lose twenty pounds to look better to wanting to lose twenty pounds to set a good example for our children. We still want to lose the twenty pounds, but with the deeper understanding of why, we are more likely to achieve and maintain our goals long term" (Living Wellness for Growth Groups, pp. 39-40).
As my own postpartum weight loss journey continues, I realize that I have to be aware of my own motivations. This journey is harder than I thought it would be! It reminds me of the phrase I have said many times, “it’s harder to get in shape than to stay in shape.” But I would add to that “but it’s nowhere near impossible!”
Friends, if you have been wrestling an issue with your health, first and foremost, know that God is with you, he loves you, and he knows your struggle. Next, do some searching to get to the roots of your struggle. Go beyond your initial surface answers. Then ask God to give you guidance as you move forward on this exciting journey called life.
You are worth more than mediocre. You are worth exceptional health!
With contribution from Caitlyn Hanson
© 2017 Living Wellness, LLC Revolutionizing health, one community at a time.
Disclaimer: This article is not intended to diagnose or treat any illnesses or disease. Please always check with your doctor before beginning any new nutritional or fitness program or before making any nutritional/fitness changes.