When I look at those milkshakes, I think of God. I think of how He helped me become a free girl that can enjoy every last bit of that treat without regret. I think of the fun moment I shared with my parents, choosing our flavors and making the homemade treat together. I didn’t think about how many calories it had or how I’d burn it off later. I just enjoyed it. But a few months ago, that milkshake would have been my downfall.
Earlier this year, I began closely watching what I ate. What started as a new, healthy lifestyle habit turned into a chokehold on any freedom to indulge…this did the opposite of helping me achieve my health & fitness goals. It actually made me obsess over food. Food controlled my mind, emotions, and thoughts. I thought about it constantly: What was I going to eat next? What was I going to have after dinner? Wait, no. No treats after dinner. A little ice cream would have been way healthier than this restriction. While I stopped treating myself, I had slowly slipped into an extremely unhealthy mindset without realizing it. Trying to change my eating and exercising habits seemed like a completely great thing! I didn’t think much of it until it was all I could think about. Instead of asking God for help with my fitness journey to become a healthier, stronger person, I took it all upon myself because, well, I honestly thought that God had better things to do than help me tone my body and eat more veggies. I was so wrong.
As I began to feel defeated and controlled by my thoughts, God led me to a book called The Secret of Your Naturally Skinny Friends by Monica Swanson. This book opened my heart to understand that we are not meant to be controlled or held captive by food or exercise. We are meant to find freedom in those things. We are to honor God in all ways, including how we fill our bodies and minds. At the point that I was reading this book, I honestly thought there was no way it would work. There was no way that I could change how I thought about food and exercise and find release. But do you know what those thoughts were? Lies from the devil. My enemy wanted me to believe that there was no hope on the horizon. That there would never be a change and this was the only way. The enemy wanted me to give up.
But then I’d had enough.
I’d had enough of his lies. I wanted the truth, so I sought it out. I brought it all to God’s feet. I cried out to Him and said, “Lord, please help me. I can’t do this on my own.” God was waiting for that. He heard my cry and He rescued me. It wasn’t immediate relief, and I sure had some shadows from the past try to creep in while I was healing, but He rescued me. He silenced the devil’s lies and turned my face to His. He broke me apart from those strongholds and held me strong instead.
I still thank God today that through His power and love, I overcame this bump in my life’s road. Through a lot of prayer, He saved me from the foothold that I had given the devil. That foothold was food. The Lord crushed it beneath His feet and gave me a fresh perspective. He helped me realize that He made all food to be enjoyed. He wants me to eat when I’m hungry, and stop when I’m full. He wants me to nourish my body, which is His temple, with foods that He had planned for me to eat. He wants to free me from anything that has a stronghold on my mind, anything that I am thinking about before Him. And most importantly, my Heavenly Father wants me to involve Him in every single detail of my life. No matter how petty it may seem, He cares about it because He cares about us.
How did I find freedom from these obsessive thoughts? I stopped thinking about food and exercise, and I started thinking about God. I prayed like I’d never prayed before. And I wrote down these 5 healthy thought tactics:
- Stop eating too many unhealthy foods, and stop overeating. The momentary pleasure of that sugar on your tongue is only a gateway to addiction, defeat, destruction, and diminishing self-control. However, remember that you are free to treat yourself every once in a while and enjoy every last bit of it.
- Every time you start thinking about food, stop yourself, go directly into prayer, and pray for somebody else.
- Every time you don’t feel like working out, say out loud, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Then say the words, “I am a perseverant girl. I finish what I’ve started. Every workout is making me into a warrior for Christ, physically and mentally.”
- During the workout, smile. Picture yourself doing all of the fun, active outdoor activities with your family, friends, future husband and kids. Visualize yourself being the leader on a hike, on the surfboard, on the swim, the bike path, and in life overall. And when it gets really hard, just repeat this again: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,” over & over.
- You are becoming a young woman that has self-control and perseveres. Grace never gives up. Never gives in. And most importantly? Never EVER goes at it alone. She is always calling on God for her strength when hers falters. For her perseverance when hers disappears. For her future outlook when all she can think about is right now.
You are a fighter.
You are a warrior.
You view food as fuel.
You view exercise as a tool to increase perseverance.
You are strong because your God is stronger.
You are forever free.