Picture this: you’re a tiny little fish, swimming upstream. And all the other fish are going the opposite direction. You know what’s upstream…that its good and worthy of the effort. It’s still discouraging though. Suddenly, you realize that there ARE other fish swimming the same direction as you. How exciting! But then….you notice that you’re behind everyone else. As time goes on, school of fish after school of fish slowly (or quickly) passes you as you struggle to use your fins against the current.
Okay, so maybe this fish analogy didn’t quite resonate with you. 😉
Here’s what I’m trying to say: eating healthy and taking care of our bodies can feel like swimming upstream because of all the effort it takes. It’s especially discouraging to feel like we’re the only ones going against the current. It’s even MORE discouraging when we recognize the efforts that others are making, that we can never seem to make. The health and fitness industry is GINORMOUS, and with all the information out there, it can be pretty overwhelming trying to “keep up” with everyone else.
I’m a total go-getter. And a perfectionist.
Sometimes I get all hung up in what I’m NOT doing for my health. The exercise I DIDN’T do yesterday. The healthy food I COULD be eating. The UNHEALTHY food I DID eat. Even how my body is NOT changing at the rate I want it to. And I compare myself: the food I’m eating, the workouts I complete, the shape of my body….to OTHERS.
Here’s a reality check: I am not perfect, and I live in an imperfect world.
I remind myself that I am doing the best that I can, with the resources that I have. There’s only so much time in a day, so much money in the budget, etc.. This isn’t an excuse to be lazy or throw in the towel. It doesn’t mean that I stop growing, and even stretching myself, in this area. But it means that I can stop beating myself up for not being PERFECT. And stop the comparison game.
All I have to do is look back, to see that I’ve come a long way. Life is a journey and a process. Making “healthy” my lifestyle is no different, and I am moving forward.
If you’re doing the best you can with what you have, yet your best just doesn’t seem good enough…if you feel overwhelmed, yet still think you’re not doing enough…. it might be time to just STOP and reassess.
Making healthy choices, no matter what your motivation, takes effort. Choosing to be healthy is not always what our flesh desires in the moment. But it’s okay to stop struggling, take a deep breath, and relax a little. The current isn’t going to take us anywhere, if we’re anchored to something solid.
Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and our health is a gift from God that we are responsible to be a good steward of. Eating foods that nourish and sustain, and getting active is important; it gives us energy and strength to do the great things we are called to do (whether that’s serving your family, serving others through your business, etc.).
But this is not a call to perfection. Do you think that God would call you to be a good steward of your body, and then not give you the resources you need to accomplish this? God knows what we have and what we don’t have. He has grace for when we feel like we can’t live up to the standard we set in our own heads. That’s right…IN OUR HEADS….because God didn’t set a specific standard for healthy living, or a list of do’s and don’ts for our diet.
Comparison truly is the thief of joy. Think about who or what you’re comparing yourself to, and stop. For so long, I struggled with comparing my own body to others (not that I don’t still struggle). I thought that everything about me that was not perfection, needed to change. This idea of “perfection” being totally imagined and not even realistic. I’ve since learned that a lot of these “standards” I thought I needed to meet, are totally irrelevant to my own body and good health.
I also struggled with comparing how “healthy” I was eating and how much I was working out, to athletes, models, and the pictures I saw on healthy food blogs. There’s a place for looking to others for inspiration and even advice. But we should not be evaluating our success/progress based on what they’re doing, or not doing. You don’t need to compare yourself, or your health journey, to anyone else’s.
Maybe you’ve been comparing yourself to your own standard of perfection. This can be completely discouraging, because you will never attain this. As I said before, I’ve struggled with this goal of “perfection” myself. And I don’t even need to compare myself to another PERSON, to have these unrealistic expectations. Remember, only Jesus is perfect, and growing more like Him is a process.
When it comes to changing the way we live our life (this can be eating, exercise, etc.), consistent effort is what it takes. There is no quick fix, and if we think that we are the exception, we will constantly be disappointed. Change can be made one step at a time. I think of the healthy choices I make as my lifestyle, and my healthy lifestyle as a journey. Just like our being made into the image of Jesus Christ (not in a single moment, but through the process of sanctification), everything in life takes time.
Be grateful. Rejoice in all of the healthy choices you HAVE made. Thank God for the healthy food you ARE able to prepare and eat. Be active in a way that you enjoy, because that’s what God created your body for.
Stop thinking about what your body is NOT, or what you’d like it to be. Rejoice in the fact that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made”!
You’re doing the best you can, so celebrate! Look back and take note of the progress you’re making! Do a happy dance! And if you’re not into happy dances, well…you can at least do a few jumping jacks. 😉
Stop tearing yourself down for not eating like “so and so”, or “such and such”. Focus on the nourishing foods you ARE able to fuel your body with, and be grateful for the steps you are taking to be a good steward.
What is your biggest struggle with leading a healthy lifestyle? What are some milestones or small wins you can celebrate RIGHT NOW, regarding your health and/or fitness?