Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Healthy Living - My Journey

I've had a healthy lifestyle change in the past year and a half and after sharing my progress with my Mom last night, she encouraged me to share it with others here on my blog. My goal is that it encourages you.

Upon moving to Switzerland our entire way of life has changed dramatically. And while it has been very difficult to adjust and cope with it at times...there have actually been some good changes that have come from our move. I have grown in a lot of ways. My spiritual walk with the Lord has taken on new meaning since I have had more opportunities here to pause and really take Him in. I want every area in my life to reflect His goodness and to bring honor to His name. I still have A LOT to work on...but I am pleased with my progress.

One area of my life that I have always struggled with is eating healthy and exercising. I used to dread the thought of running, jogging, or doing any type of exercise that involved sweating. I also didn't want to let go of the unhealthy foods I loved to eat. Moving to Switzerland literally forced me to change my lifestyle.

Dining out is not an option here. 1.) It is SUPER expensive. (just to give you an idea...a McDonald's Cheeseburger "Value" Meal is close to $20...yes...that's per person)  and 2.) Their restaurant choices are all very bland in taste anyway. So cooking at home is virtually the only real option for us. The upside though is that we eat A LOT healthier. And honestly...I actually crave healthy foods now.

On top of our food choices changing. We also exercise much more here. We don't own a car. Again, it's an incredibly expensive privilege that we simply cannot afford over here. So we walk pretty much everywhere. On top of that, I have been intrinsically motivated to add an exercise routine to my daily life. There were several external motivators that pushed me to be more active...specifically this encouragement from the gifted speaker, Beth Moore. I encourage you to watch this two-part video and hear her personally explain how exercise can be another form of worship to God. This inspired me to not want to work out so I can be thinner, fit in the clothes I like or to look better in general but to elevate my motivation so that I'm doing this with HIM as my focus. And with that as my motivation it truly is freeing.

I'm here to tell you that if I can make this can you. I was possibly the most unlikely candidate for this...Jared can testify that I was never really receptive to his offers of working out together. I always shot down any thought of exercise. But I'm here telling you...change is possible. It takes deep motivation and determination. But once you start feeling the positive results happen in your life you will feel immense satisfaction within yourself.

My advice is to start slow. Don't overwhelm yourself with changes all at once. You will likely burn out and give up. One by one, start cutting out unhealthy foods...eating out less...and replacing junk for wholesome goodness! You don't have to deprive yourself of things you like. If you like chocolate have some chocolate...but only have ONE small piece not an entire bag. It's all about moderation.

When it comes to exercising, again...take it slow. Start with something minimal that you can do and build up your endurance from there. Marathon runners don't get up the morning of the race and run 10k without first building endurance and training their body. Do enough exercise that challenges your strength but don't set yourself up for failure by doing too much too soon. For example, if you can easily do 30 sit ups...try for 50. If you can only do 10...then do 10. Gradually increase your numbers daily or weekly. You'll have much more success if you set reasonable goals for yourself. I recommend doing your work out first thing in the morning because 1.) You can get it done so you won't have to think about it for the rest of the day. 2.) It jump starts your day so that you're energized and ready to go and 3.) Exercise in the morning before your brain has time to figure out what you're doing! ;)

 Please keep in mind that I am not a nutritionist, or a fitness professional...I'm simply sharing what has worked for me. I hope this inspired many of you. 

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