Monday, November 23, 2015

Finding Peace in Your Relationship with Food

When most people write about stress during the holidays they address the hustle and bustle of different parties and the weight of feeling the need to do everything.  But God put it on my heart to address another aspect of Thanksgiving and Christmas that brings stress and anxiety to many people. This article is going to address the anxiety that food brings to the table(no pun intended).  

When I opened my email today I received one entitled "How to survive Thanksgiving".  At first it sounded interesting so I clicked it to read their tips and as soon as I started reading I heard the Lord tell me to stop.  So I closed out the browser and He began to speak to me about my own anxiety when it comes to parties and food. He showed me How deeply saddened He is that a time that was meant to be full of thanks has turned into a time of anxiety about what to eat and how to burn the extra holiday calories off.

As He was speaking to me about this someone sent me a video on a new eating disorder called "EDNOS" or "Eating Disorder Not Otherwise Specified".  As I watched this video my heart broke, especially when the girl referred to her disorder as "Ed".  The number of Americans, especially women, who have eating disorders is growing by the minute.  Everywhere we turn we are told we need to look a certain way in order to be valued and loved. If we weren't born naturally thin we will go to great lengths to ensure we fit the norm.  

When I was a teen girl(and even throughout my early twenties) I would go in cycles where I would binge or starve myself.  I remember in the times I was starving myself I would have nightmares that I was eating junk like pizza or donuts.  I would wake up terrified and disgusted with myself.  Because of this I know all too well how much of a death grip food can have on your life. If you are addicted to food, or the lack there of, you will rearrange your entire day around it.  If you are addicted to eating it you are concerned about what the next meal will be even while you are eating the first. If you are addicted to withholding food from your body then you will decline certain party invitations if you know it will be too tempting to eat food.  You will retreat and isolate yourself to a place where you feel in control.  To put it simply, satan has you on a chain and the idol(food) is leading the way.  It tells you when to go and when to stay.  God has no voice in your life when you are in bondage to food.  

For those struggling with something like this, Thanksgiving and Christmas, times that are meant to bring joy and peace, can bring nothing but anxiety and wishing you could just play sick for all the family gatherings.  I can tell you that God has set me free from this cycle of bondage but it is something that I must keep submitted to Him or it will rear its ugly head.  

Here are two key truths in finding peace with food and your body:

1. Food is Fuel.

Food was created by God to fuel our body. However, from the beginning of time satan has used food, a beautiful thing God created, to get between us and God. Food was never intended to be our enemy or an idol in our life. 

There is nothing more true than the statement "Eat to live, don't live to eat".  I remember when binging on junk food was a bondage of mine I  meditated on this truth often.  God's word says in 1 Corinithians 10:21 "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God."

Pray before you go to the Thanksgiving feasts or Christmas parties.  And pray often.  Even as you are loading your plate, ask God to give you wisdom and self-control.  Ask Him to show you how to enjoy the food but not over indulge. Reevaluate often and ask if your behaviors are bringing glory to God.  Ask questions like: am I at war with food?  Am I using it to fuel my body or to fill a desire only God can fill?

2. You are not your own. 

 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 says  "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body."

If you are a born again believer your body is a temple of the most High God.  He dwells in you and you in Him.  There is not one moment of any of our days on this earth that this is not true. There are no exceptions or special holidays when our bodies are no longer temples. So when we enter into holiday parties we must keep this perspective. Does God want us to enjoy a yummy meal with our family and friends?  Absolutely.  But does He want us to go to an extreme and either starve ourselves out of fear of gaining weight OR go the other way and binge until we feel we are going to throw up?  Not at all.  Do everything in moderation and with a sound mind and God will bless your temple.  

If this article spoke to you today I encourage you to take a few moments and talk to God about it.  Ask the Holy Spirit what He is asking you to give up this holiday season or enjoy with no guilt.  He cares about every single detail of your life and food is no exception. In fact, food was His idea.

I pray you all have a Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas! :) 

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Our Spartan Beast Story

Hi friends!  I am SO excited to have some time to start blogging again!  I am officially done with my Revelation Wellness® instructor training(blog post to come on that soon)!  I have so much to share with you about what God is doing in my life in regards to fitness. There will be many new and exciting resources that will be coming your way in stay tuned!  But before I do that I have to recap our Spartan Beast!

If you have followed me for long you know that last year I signed me and my husband up for the Spartan Sprint. We loved it so much that my husband talked me in to doing a Spartan Beast.  What is the difference?  Oh you know, just an extra 10 miles and lots of extra obstacles and burpees.  So, being the brave little wife that I am, said yes.  There is absolutely no way to fit all the information from our training, to race day to during the race into a blog post without it turning into a book so I will do my best to highlight the key points.

What I did for my Spartan Beast Training:

One of the main things I knew I needed to work on for my training was long distance running.  I have always been one to run 3 miles or less because I considered myself "not a runner".  But what I learned from this experience is that you really can train your body to do anything. Did I start out running 12 miles?  No.  In fact, I remember the day I ran 7 miles I thought it was a huge deal. Then I ran 8. Then 9. Then 10.  Now any run less than 5 miles feels like a short run.  I used a basic half marathon training program I found on Hal Higdon

I have always loved to do strength work so I didn't have to add too much of that to my training.  For my strength I did Les Mills GRIT® workouts and used my TRX Suspension Trainer.  Oh and we can't forget the burpees.  For every obstacle you fail on a Spartan race you have to do 30 burpees before you can move on so I did a lot of of them in my training. :) 

Race day prep:

The next question I get a lot of:  what do I wear for a Spartan race?  I have not always been one to wear form fitting clothes when I workout but you want them fitted and dri-fit material.  Most Spartans are wet and muddy and there is nothing worse then getting drenched in mile one and then running in wet, heavy cotton.  We wear everything dri-fit right down to our undies and socks. :)

This Spartan race attire was extra special for me.  My dear friend, mentor and Pastor Jan Greenwood recently discovered her cancer had returned and the Lord immediately gave her the words "Square Up".  I won't do the meaning of those words justice so head over to Jan's blog to read it for yourself: Square Up

About a week before our race I felt the Lord tell me to have a shirt made with these words "Square Up" on it. At first I felt a little silly since it wasn't my word but I've learned to be obedient even when I don't understand why He is asking me to do something.  Those two simple words carried me through my race.  How?  Because every time I wanted to quit I remembered my shirt and the Lord told me to take the focus off myself and on to praying for Jan. It's amazing the power that is released in our lives when we stop focusing on what we are currently walking through and start looking up to God and out to those around us. It was a really sweet time with God.  Thank you Jan for letting me borrow your word from God. :)   

Here is what I wore(my husband chuckled when he saw how cute and shiny it all was since it got demolished in obstacle one:)):

A few notes about my gear: I chose the fanny pack hydration pack because I don't like things on my shoulders like the camelbacks. This was my first time using gloves and there were a few obstacles they were nice to have. Because it was a long race the Surge packs were a lifesaver. And my cute capris are from Fabletics.
Race Day:

For me, driving to the race feels much like a roller coaster. You've already been strapped in and as you creep up that first hill you desperately want off but too late...the only way off is to ride it.  Then after it's over you're like "that was awesome, let's do it again!".  

Here we are on the drive over when I'm starting to freak out a bit. Luckily, Mr. Wonderful here has command in his top 5 strengths so there was no talking him out of it. :)

The part of the race we weren't planning on was the 2.5 mile hike IN to the starting line. Because it had rained the day before there was a lot of flooding so we had to park really far out. I had to quote a lot of scripture and pray to keep my mind right on that part of the journey.  

Here are a few pictures from our hike in: 



We FINALLY made it in to our race!  It's really hard to write details about the race itself because, to be honest, most of it is a blur. There is so much adrenaline pumping and camaraderie that for most of the race you don't realize that you have mud in places not appropriate to blog about and muscles are hurting that you didn't know existed.  But this race was very different because it was MUDDY.  Most of them are muddy in certain areas but because of the rain every single step was nothing but mud.  The hardest part was picking your foot up off the ground to try to run and jump.  It slowed us down big time.  

Some of the obstacles this race had were walls to jump over(which for me looks like me jumping up on my husbands knee so he can hurl me over), monkey bars on steroids, lots of hills, fill a bucket with rocks and carry it up and down a hill, sandbag carry up and down a hill, barbwire crawls, spear throw, american ninja contraption, rope climb, sled pulls, slanted & weight wall climbs, dunk wall, atlas ball carry & drop with burpees, pole balance walks and of course the fire jump. This is just to name a few.  Since you do 30 burpees for every obstacle you fail I did 90 burpees.  

One of my favorite parts about the Spartan races are the pictures they capture.  I love getting to reflect on it after when the blood has returned to my brain. These are keepsakes for sure.  

This next set of pictures is from the dunk wall.  All you do is swim out and under that wall but when the water is freezing it's not very fun. The first picture is our victory hands then I realize I can't touch and yell for Matt to save me. Yes I can swim but it's hard to with mud in your shoes!  

 The last obstacle and my absolute favorite picture of Matt & I is the fire jump:

For some reason I put my arms in the air every time at the fire jump. :)  And our last picture...the victory pose!

To wrap it all up, I asked some people to submit questions for us to answer.  Here are the 4 I picked to answer:

1. What was the hardest obstacle?

Rach: The hardest obstacle for me was definitely the atlas ball carry.  I believe the women's ball was 50 pounds but it felt like 100 because it was STUCK in the mud. When I did finally get it picked up I had to carry it down to the other end, drop it to do 5 burpees then carry it back. On the way back I fell backwards and it landed on my ankle.  I honestly thought for a moment I had broken my ankle but it turned out to be a bruise.  

Matt: Not being able to eat for 4 hours. After that would be the gravel filled bucket carry up the hill. 

2. What was the first and last obstacle?

The first obstacle was a jump over a hay bale.  The last obstacle was the famous fire jump. :)

3. What was your motivation for doing the race? 

Rach: I love a new challenge.  And the fact that my husband wanted me to do it with him made it like an adventure we were on together. It brought us really close.  

Matt: Adventure. 

4. Was there any point during the training or race that you wanted to quit?  

Rach: There was only once that I got worried I would have to quit training when I injured my foot on my first 11 mile run.  I had to stop running for a few weeks which set me back but as soon as it was better I got back to it.  I never wanted to quit during the race. Even with every muscle hurting in my body it felt so good to accomplish something like this with my husband. 

Matt: No. How are you going to quit during the race? I mean, you are out in the middle of nowhere. That's why I like it. I liked getting out of the clinic and having a mission to accomplish.  

Are you thinking of doing a Spartan?  If so, JUST DO IT!!! :)