Today’s post has been a long time in the making and today, I’m clicking PUBLISH with shaking hands and praying my words will be received in the way I am intending.
I have a confession and I need you to hear me out:
I’m a health and fitness leader and I have gained weight. Even more than that, I’m a health and fitness leader and most days, I’m tired of talking about health and fitness.
I’m leading other women daily in ways that they can live a healthier, more free lifestyle, yet at the same time, according to standard measures of the world, I am not successful at the same thing myself.
A couple months back I showed up for my annual physical. When the doctor entered, after she greeted me, her first words here “So let’s talk about your weight”.
To be honest, I wasn’t aware of my weight. I don’t weigh normally and hadn’t stepped on a scale in months.
When they weighed me in before my appointment, I didn’t look at that number, because for me, it doesn’t lead to a place of freedom and growth, but instead judgment and restriction.
I walked into that appointment (in January, a few weeks after Christmas), knowing I wasn’t at my thinnest, but also feeling really free and in a healthy place.
I lead fitness classes five days a week, was training for a 10 mile race, and eat well MOST of the time.
According to the scale there, I had gained 7 lbs over the past 1.5 years and had gained 14 lbs since I was at my lowest weight four years ago.
To try to make a loooong story shorter, let me give you the highlights:
Five years ago the Lord called me into learning how to live healthy and well for His glory.
Over the course of that next year, I became obsessed with all things fat-loss lifestyle and metabolic training related.
Four years ago the Lord asked me to begin sharing my journey with others. Wellness Witness was launched which at that time was a super-active blog, recipes, and local fitness classes.
Three years ago He asked me to step out into full-time ministry and work with Wellness Witness and we’ve grown since there. I’ve gone from teaching 2 classes a week to teaching 5. I’ve added an online program called the At-Home Tribe that leads 300 women around the world virtually. I get to travel and speak and write and basically use this platform of health and wellness as a tool to speak life and worth and share the Gospel with women.
It’s an amazing calling and I’m grateful for every second of it.
But, according to the world’s standards, I have no business leading a health and fitness platform.
Instead of seeing my body continue to grow stronger and smaller, I’m finding that the more freedom I walk in, the more space I’m taking up (In more ways than one).
Here’s where I need you to stick with me:
-The enemy is using this to try to convince me that I am disqualified.
I’ve gone round and round over the past two months trying to figure out what the Lord has for me in this struggle and if I’m supposed to even be sharing about it with you all. It’s a strange place to know that others depend on you to tell them how to find ‘success’ in weight loss and living well but to not feel like you are experiencing that in your own life. It’s even more strange to not want to continue talking about health all the time because you know there are so many more important things we can focus on.
I felt shame.
I felt judgement (totally self-imposed).
I felt disqualified.
I felt a bit lost.
That stupid enemy. He doesn’t fight fair. And he doesn’t speak truth.
His goal: STEAL. KILL. DESTROY.
He’s been after me. And at times, I’ve been listening.
This morning, though, I was reminded of truth and I felt
led– no COMPELLED- to share this with you.
Here’s my confession:
I am a health and wellness professional and I have gained weight.
I am a health and wellness professional and I don’t want to focus on living a ‘fat loss lifestyle’.
I am a health and wellness professional and I am done with measuring my worth by how often I workout.
I am a health and wellness professional and I know that training my body will never fix the issues that linger in my heart.
I am a health and wellness professional and I don’t care if the clients I work with ever lose one single pound.
I’m a health and wellness professional and I believe that we have far more important things to talk about than the number of carbs in the food we have for lunch.
There, I said it.
It’s out there.
But can I tell you what else is true?
I BELIEVE IN FREEDOM LIVING.
This means I don’t live chained by a set of ‘rules’ to tell me what I can and cannot eat. My joy isn’t linked to the number on my scale, and my success won’t be measured by seeing my monthly measurements go down.
Success for me?
…Stewarding well the gifts the Lord has given me INCLUDING my health.
For me this means moving my body because I GET TO and because when I move, I come alive.
It means making my workouts an act of worship that don’t just impact my body- they speak to my heart and bring peace to my soul.
For me this means being ON MISSION and more concerned with stopping to serve the people around me than meal prepping and planning to meet my nutritional goals.
It means putting people before platform and my relationship with the Lord before my required tasks.
It means I’m done trying to fit into someone else’s expectations of what health and wellness has to look like.
Here’s what else it means:
I am not disqualified to lead others into doing the same.
If you’re looking for a quick program to change your body- you won’t find it here.
If you want a trainer who will whip you into the best shape of your life- it’s not me.
Looking for a nutrition plan that will map out for you every single bite of food you’re ‘allowed’ to have so that you can watch your body shrink smaller and smaller? You won’t find it here.
But if you are sick and tired of living sick and tired and you want to find a better way? This space is for you.
If you’re tired of letting the scale dictate your worth? We are your people.
If you know that the calling on your life is bigger than achieving a perfect physique? We agree.
If you know that living a healthy lifestyle matters so that you can go where God sends you? We’ll help you do that.
If you’re tired of looking at the women around you, constantly comparing and critiquing how you measure up- we’d love to show you another way.
I’m ready to change the conversation from weighing less to LIVING MORE. I think you might be, too.
We have more important things that we have been called to than fixating on every perceived flaw we’re walking around with.
And we have bigger tasks we’ve been equipped for than simply trying to take up less space.
YOU HAVE BEEN CREATED ON PURPOSE AND FOR A PURPOSE, set free and saved, and given authority to walk in. It’s time to stop shrinking back because we feel disqualified, and to ask the Lord to send us out even when it may not look like we think it should.
In the beginning of my journey, obedience for me looked like a whole lot of dying to self, breaking food addictions and unhealthy choices, and beginning to honor the Lord with living healthy.
A few years later obedience looked like trusting Him that where He calls, He will provide.
Today, obedience looks like surrender.
To being able to honestly say- “God, I surrender this to You. All of it. I’m willing to continue obeying You and the things you’ve called me to even if nothing ever changes. I’m willing to be the one who will step forward and say ‘I’ll go first’ and to shout that there has got to be more to this life than living chained to physical measurements of our worth.”
Lately I’ve been talking with the Lord about obedience and my current health journey and having to decide: IF I NEVER LOSE ANOTHER POUND, WOULD I STILL BE WILLING TO OBEY HIM BY LIVING WELL? Eating healthy foods, moving my body, doing restorative care, drinking my water…Am I willing to obey? To not take short-cuts, to not tie my worth to my weight, to not feel disqualified because I don’t look like other health and wellness leaders. AM I STILL WILLING TO OBEY?
My answer is yes.
The way I steward this one life I have to live MATTERS.
So I’m going to continue showing up.
I’m going to offer what I have.
I’m going to keep cheering on those around me.
I’m going to keep pointing you back to the MAIN THING which will always be heart > weight.
I know this will mean some of you can’t stay. But, for those that will, know this: WE ARE JUST GETTING STARTED.
I’m free and the enemy has lost his hold over me.
Get ready- I’m stepping forward with NO SHAME and I’m inviting you to link arms and come with me.
let’s go- we’ve got lots of work to do. It won’t be easy, but sister, FREEDOM WILL BE WORTH IT!
When I was early on in my journey, I’d share progress pictures. I thought this would be a good way to show you tangibly what I’m talking about today:
This was one of my favorites- it’s a picture of my on my wedding rehearsal night in 2005 and then one from 2014 of me wearing the exact same pants. I’d lost a significant amount of weight and I used these green pants as my indicator of success.
Here’s a picture I snapped of me wearing those same green pants today:
There it is.
My pants won’t zip and guess what: I AM NOT DISQUALIFIED.
I’m refusing to feel shame over this.
I don’t HAVE to be the same size I was THIRTEEN years ago. My body has carried two babies, it’s endured countless trials and stresses and it has LOVED AND SERVED WELL. I will not belittle it or despise it. I’m making peace with it.
And I’m hoping that my sharing will serve to empower some of you to do the same.
Let’s do this differently.
As always, I’m praying for you and CHEERING YOU ON!