Happy, Healthy, Strong

Last year I started my health journey in full swing of motion. I vowed that I would not gain the freshman fifteen and set out to make this goal a reality. I cleaned up my eating habits, pinned all the health pins, and started hitting the gym regularly. It was tough and I didn’t always enjoy it, but slowly I started to get stronger. I started to notice results and so did others. The health life hooked me!

I had hit an all time high in my health journey last semester; going to the gym and busting out multiple reps, building ab muscles and seeing them show, and eating clean as one can in a college setting. I felt, and started to look, powerful, lean, and ready to take on the world. I shifted from the mindset of healthy lifestyle to a mindset of results. Slowly, my eating habits started to become slightly obsessive. I’d get discouraged when I ate “crappy” three days in a row and was more aware of my flaws in those moments than what was needed. It was at this moment in the semester when my mom looked at me and said, “I think you have more of a problem with food than you think you do.”

I didn’t think I did. In fact, I cried because I didn’t want to be that girl that had obsessive eating habits, even if they were “healthy”. This was a wake up call for sure! I realized that as much as I loved this way of life, I definitely wasn’t approaching it with long-term benefits as much as I was approaching it with how good I looked in the now. This was tough to take in and I tried to justify it with the fact I felt better than ever and that in comparison to others, I wasn’t as bad as I could be.

Even though I wasn’t as bad as I could be, I still wasn’t thinking with a mindset that I am a temple and that I am beloved and that even with flaws, I am still beautiful. I got stuck on results and looks and grace flew out the window. I made myself take a break from the daily grind of the gym and covered my mirror with a portrait that I had received at our campus art fair. Around my face, I wrote words I knew to be true of myself and most of them weren’t even about my body. This was the break and reminder that I needed!

It was a classic moment of focusing too much on what can be a good thing when it’s kept in perspective of having God as the focal point. I caused myself turmoil and know for a fact that I pushed others away in this. Looking back it’s ironic because this flip in mindset, set up camp soon after my “loving myself finally” blog post was written. I took God off the throne and placed my love for self on it, forgetting that my love of self mindset needs to be centered in what He says about me.

Fast forward and this gym lifestyle isn’t so present anymore. I re-figured priorities, asking myself what was truly important and going to the gym everyday simply didn’t make the cut. Chasing after this passion for God, cultivating authentic community, and enjoying moments of stunning sunsets or impromptu cookie making in my quad, were all more important than spending hours in a gym. I knew that I didn’t want to completely throw this healthy mindset out the window though because I truly did enjoy feeling strong and energized when I ate well and stayed active.

So, I have found a balance. Keep God at the center, take life’s impromptu moments as they come, and stay strong and healthy. Results are the least of my worries. Focusing on tending to the garden of my heart and mind are the forefront of my health journey and if I happen to workout, it usually involves hiking or running or yoga. Sometimes we rock from one extreme to the other and that’s what I had to do to some extent, but if you keep these desires and goals centered in your love for Christ and in your desire to honor Him, balance is easier to attain.

I am a temple of the Holy Spirit and to treat myself as such, not only with my body, but also my mind and heart is extremely important! He’s brought me back to this place of loving who I am, but in the realm of who HE sees me as. It’s a beautiful, blossoming, messy, and wild garden that needs tending to daily. But thank God, that He is the most perfect tender of my heart and mind!

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