“There is pleasure in the pathless woods.” -Byron
The smaller pictures are me putting together my very first rifle last week, from springs, screws and pieces into a full gun. In the last few years, I’ve had a growing desire to become an excellent distance marksman. You know the Biathlon event in the winter Olympics? It involves cross country skiing and rifle shooting. Perhaps, it’s some latent nordic bloodline in me or something left over from when I lived in Rykkinn, Norway as a young girl and cross country skied everywhere, but that sport rocks! Biathletes, here I come! 😉 Fitness was like this for me a year ago; it was a far off dream. Life is full of function. If we aren’t careful, our dreams can become like a distant, Italian love song that is vaguely familiar in an alley somewhere outside our window. For various reasons, some of them wonderful ones like raising my seven beautiful children, I realized last year that I had stopped dreaming. And, that’s when I decided… It is time, somehow in my bustling life, to pursue my God given gifts and dreams. What are your dreams? I would love to know.
Many people, each January, choose to pursue fitness. However, the question I am constantly asked is how I stick with eating carefully and exercising consistently. That’s a tough question to answer. I mean, certainly, personality plays into it. I can definitely be as tenacious as a gerbil on a wheel, for good or bad. And, believe me, that’s not bragging because the bad side of tenacious is… ahem… stubborn. And, besides, since when is being like a gerbil a good thing? If any second graders are reading this, I shot to the top of their awesomeness list, alongside the roving Guinea Pig from their class. Here is what I came up with…
- I have turned exercise into rest. Does that sound crazy or what?! But, it’s true. I took two of my greatest needs- time alone and time with God- and capitalized on it. I try to go when the gym is silent. I try to run alone. I get into my mental zone and rest, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. I am telling you, all of our lives are filled with too much noise; you make exercise refilling, reflective and prayerful and you will run to it!
- Eating: rhythm, discipline and practical help. As far as eating, three things really come to mind. First, you have to get into a rhythm and get used to what you’re able to eat. Once you’re used to it, it slowly becomes a lifestyle. I am so used to not having sugar now that a large apple can feel too sugary! Secondly, practice saying no. The more you say no to the foods you shouldn’t have, the better you get at it. Third, and probably the most important, don’t let yourself get too hungry! The most healthy eater in the World will grab for junk when they get too hungry!
- Retraining my mind. I have had to retrain my mind and that takes intentional work. I’ve had to retrain my thinking that foods outside my diet are all treats and only allowed once a week at the most. In our culture, we have that backwards. We think we should be able to eat anything we want anytime. We can’t do that without it eventually effecting our health. Our staple diet needs to consist of “living foods.” As far as exercise, schedule it and decide to do it. Deciding we are going to truly do something is most of the battle. I would say the number one thing that helps me keep going with it all is that I decided to do it. If you don’t, you won’t. Also, retrain your thinking regarding exercise. We live in a modern, computerized World, which encourages us to be sedentary. It helped me not only stick with it but also enjoy life more by choosing to take an active mindset. So, if it’s a beautiful day, I take my kids on a hike. If I go up the stairs, I will try to run, etc.
Even though I can hang on like a bull dog on a steak, there are many days when, just like I have to choose honesty or kindness, I have to choose tenacity. Keep dreaming and keep going!
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord, And He shall give you the desires of your heart.”