My Fitness Journey vs My Spiritual Journey [Part 2]

Click here to read part 1

It’s amazing how much losing weight and going to the gym taught me about my relationship with God. Here are three more examples:

4. It’s a mental battle

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Losing weight/trying to get fit is totally mental! I mean, of course you have to physically move but your arms and legs won’t take you where your mind doesn’t tell it to go. If I tell myself, “You might aswell stop running now, you’ve done ten minutes, that’s good enough” then be sure I will stop even if my body can run for another hour. On the other hand, if I tell myself that I will run and lap that pretty thin woman with the expensive lokoking nike leggings in the park then I will! It’s all in the head. It takes commitment and motivation; how many times did I stop and start silly diets and exercise programs before I finally got serious? Countless! It’s quite common for us ladies; we start a fad diet and then give up as soon as someone in the office shakes the celebration tub at us. (You’ve tasted them all before – don’t be afraid to say no.) But what makes the difference between those that fall on and off of the weightloss wagon and those who stick at it and actually get results? The mindset. If you really, truly want to do something then you will and no matter how many pairs of nike free runs you own, the only thing that will get you off that sofa and into that gym is yourself. You have to overcome those mental hurdles, thinking before you eat, stopping yourself when you are full, pushing yourself to do an extra set or run an extra mile. When your body gets tired then its up to your mind to say “Nah Mrs Legs! We’re not done yet!” and keep on going. If you’re not used to exercising or you’re trying something new then it’s bound to tire you out and of course you’ll feel a burn; it doesn’t mean you should stop though. It’s easy to give up because you’re physically tired or a bit sore but the true secret to weight loss or fitness is pushing yourself to go further and out of your comfort zone. Nothing ever grows in the comfort zone; push yourself out of it and you’ll see results.

Likewise, the spiritual battle is not a physical one. Sure, we are physical beings but we’re not physically punching the devil or stamping on demons. Firstly, we have to understand that there is a spiritual battle happening right now; the fight betwen good and evil, God and the devil and it is up to us to join a side.  The Bible says the fight is not physical; think about your struggles or temptations. The devil goes for our emotional stability or our ability to think straight or even our memory. He tells us to ‘listen to our heart’ when God is saying ‘listen to Me and what I have told you.’ The battle between good and evil takes place in our mind and so when Paul talks about guarding ourselves with the armor of God he doesn’t tell us to grab a knife, he says our armor should include truth, faith, salvation, the Word of God and prayer. It is with this armor that we get strength to fight our spiritual battles. These texts from the Bible do a pretty good job of showing that the battle is a spiritual one.

The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. (2 Corinthians 10:3 NIV)

For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.(Ephesians 6:12-13 NIV) 

5. Surrond yourself with people on the same mission as you

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It’s hard when you’re the only one in your group of friends trying to live healthier or even lose weight. They’re stuffing their face with pizza and you’re sitting there nibbiling a Nakd Bar trying not to breathe in the tempting aroma of the new mega triple stuffed crust. Not everybody will understand and they’ll even laugh at you at times. “One jaffa cake won’t hurt you, stop being silly,” or “You go to the gym 4 times a week – your’re obsessed!” It’s even worse when they don’t want to join you in living healthier but they want to tell you what you should be eating. “You shouldn’t eat peanut butter, it’s really fatty.”

One thing that helped to inspire and motivate me on my journey was to surrond myself with other people trying to do the same. I didn’t have to start tapping people on the shoulder at the gym and asking them if they wanted to come round for a protein shake or stand outside Holland and Barett with a sign saying ‘I need insprational friends!” We live in an internet age and thanks to Instagram, Tumblr, blogs and other websites I had everything I needed at the click swipe of a button. I started to follow fitness and health based pages because they were posting inspirational quotes or exercises videos and healthy meal ideas. I’ve learnt a lot from other people, especially the ‘ordinary’ people like myself as opposed to following Gillian Micheals and Cassie (Yeah, apparantley she goes hard in the gym.) Following these pages and subscribing to health and fitness blogs meant that I was constantly being motivated and had no excuses. I couldn’t moan about having nothing to cook; google is my friend and as for how to have correct form in the gym; youtube!

There are cons to the fitness social media world too; I used to save images of girls I wanted to look like but now I realise the impossibility of that dream. I used to scroll down my timeline and look at all of the toned stomachs and jiggle-free thighs and feel terrible about my own body. It can be a dangerous realm and there will be a post about that coming up.

The Christian journey is not an easy one and surrounding yourself with likeminded people definitely makes it easier. Why do people go to night clubs? Why can’t they just listen to the good music at home in their bedrooms? Because they want to dance in the presence of other people who love the same music and sometimes get to know those people and simply just enjoy the atmosphere. The lights, the DJ and the endless shuffled playlist of all of their favourite tracks. Church is similar. Praying and singing at home is nice but when you’re in a room with lots of other people who share your passion and love the same hymns as you and want to get to Heaven like you do, the atmosphere is amazing. Not to mention the wealth of knowledge you can gather from an hour’s discussion or a sermon. Going to church, small groups or Bible Study groups is an important part of the Christian walk because it helps us grow. We need positive human interaction; someone to talk about our problems with, someone to share advice with, someone to explain that confusing Bible text for us or simple someone to sit and share a plate of rice and mock duck with. Big churches with masses of departments and meetings are not for everyone but I urge everyone to find a group of like-minded people who will encourage you to grow and meet with them regularly. 

6. Be ready to defend yourself 

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Like I mentioned in the last point, not everyone will understand your new lifestyle. There are a few people at work who always have something to say about my lunch or want to have the same old argument about vegetarianism. I’m not even trying to persuade my colleagues to put down their bacon sandwiches, I’m just trying to eat my lentils and check my Facebook inbox in peace.

Because people do not always understand, you’ll end up getting into a few debates or having to explain your lifestyle to people. I actually enjoy having pleasant conversations, explaining my choices, it’s only when people don’t want to listen to me or assume things that I get slightly annoyed. “Are you allowed to eat that popcorn?” or “I’m sure those crisps have meat in.” So if you are going to make new changes in your life e.g. giving up cows milk or only buying organic vegetables, be ready to explain why you have decided to do this. There’s no point in changing something you do simply because that cool girl on Facebook did or because you saw a scary picture of a sick cow; go and do your research for yourself and be ready to share your exciting information when people ask.

People are actually interested in my lifestyle and it makes my day when someone asks me for nutrition advice or tells me they tried a recipe I told them about. I don’t go around preaching about veganism or looking down on people’s food but people notice me consistently bringing in my own food or never going to the chip shop with them and then they ask questions and make small changes. Without even trying, I have influenced people’s lives for the better simply because of the way I have lived my own life.

Christianity is the same; you don’t have to go around with a megaphone and a banner, people will watch the way you behave and judge your religion from that. If you say you go to Church and then they hear you swear, they’ll remember. If you’re always humming hymns but one day accidentally sing the chorus of Lady Gaga’s latest hit, they’ll remember. And sometimes, rather than ask you about your beliefs people will assume things and try and argue with you and tell you everything you are doing wrong. You may even get atheists telling you what Christians should and should not do! So always be ready to defend yourself, have explanations of your fundamental beliefs ready because people are curious. Some are simply looking for an argument but others genuinely want to know more about God and so ensure that you represent Him well. I may be the only Christian that someone will ever meet so I cannot risk meeting someone and not leaving them with a good impression of God. I’m not always going to be perfect, because I have a sinful nature and sometime slip up, but if I am aware at all times that people are watching me and I am intentionally trying to be a good Christian then that is what matters.

So there we have it, a wealth of lessons that I learnt simply from changing the way I ate and moved. I hope you’ve learnt something too. Please comment, I’m interested in what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

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