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40 Days Lighter – Day 15: Growing Stronger

I have finally arrived at the place where I look forward to going to the gym. And believe me, it’s been a long time coming.

I’ve tried working out at other times in my life, had two gym memberships at one point, but just couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea that there was any form of joy to be found there. I saw each trip to the fitness center as punishment – it was uncomfortable, inconvenient (a nap would have been more appealing), and reminded me just how much of a fitness failure I was.

So what changed between then and now?

Is working out still uncomfortable? 

Absolutely! I still feel the same breathlessness as I attempt to increase my speed and endurance on a treadmill or elliptical. Using weights puts pressure on my muscles and joints. Nevermind the soreness that sets in after an intense leg day, arm day or ab day!

Is it still inconvenient? 

Well…if you think getting up before 5 am to go the gym, when you have a 5 year old, 1 year old, and you are an impossible to rehabilitate night owl whose brain thinks you’re Einstein right around midnight, is inconvenient, then YES, it’s still inconvenient.

Am I still reminded of the fitness journey ahead of me, to reach a healthy weight and achieve the fitness levels/goals I have in mind?

Yes. It is still apparent that I have a long road ahead as I continue to huff and puff on the treadmill in my best attempt at a run.

What HAS CHANGED is my perspective, my attitude towards this journey. I recognize that I am a work in progress. My journey will never be finished – I’m not just working towards “an end” – I’m allowing God to use even THIS to change my life. I’m giving in to the stretching and tearing and pushing – giving in to the DISCIPLINE of it all – so that I will emerge from this season of the journey STRONGER, with more ENDURANCE, and the ability to RUN with the vision God has given me for my life.

Have you found yourself, once again, going through a process that you have attempted before, without previous success? Are you wrestling with the fact that the circumstances – the discomfort, inconvenience, and your overwhelming need to go through the process – are still the same?

Then I dare you to change your perspective. 

But Caleb quieted the people before Moses and said, “Let us go up at once and occupy it, for we are well able to overcome it.”

Numbers 13:30 ESV

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40 Days Lighter – Day 12: Learning New Hungers

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬

As I continue to reflect on my reading of You Are What You Love: The Spiritual Power of Habit by James K. A. Smith, I was brought back to a chapter where the author talks about “rehabituating our hungers”.

I came across this chapter at the very beginning stages of my current healthy eating journey (I’m now 5 weeks in) – so as you can imagine, I gobbled it up.

Among the most meaningful quotes to me was this:

“Your hungers are themselves a kind of habit formed by certain practices. Those hungers, in turn, propel you into routines and rituals that solidify those habits.”

He goes on to state that “our tastes can be trained without our realizing it”.

These statements revealed a jarring reality to me – my desire to eat junk was both a cause and result of my poor eating habits. To break the cycle of craving, it then becomes necessary to change the habits that create that desire. To change those habits was going to take some intense periods of intentional living, planned grocery shopping, consistent home cooking, and diligent preparation.

I would need to change my routines to make a quick stop at Dunkin Donuts, Burger King, or even the local Jamaican restaurant I loved, far more inconvenient and obviously unnecessary.

I knew this was going to be a daunting task. This journey would mean giving up a way of living that had become second nature to me, like breathing air – I want to eat it, I like to eat it, so I’m going to eat it. It would mean choosing not to give in to my old eating habits in order to establish new, life-sustaining ones.

I wrestled with myself over the course of a couple days, but I ultimately committed to learning new hungers rather than just satisfying old cravings.

Over the last 5 weeks, as I have been deeply challenged to develop new tastes, to hunger for the “right” stuff, I found that my old cravings slowly but surely began to dissipate. That brownie that was my “go to” after a hard or emotionally charged day no longer offered that same sense of satisfaction. As a matter of fact, going without added sugar has made even my favorite treats taste too sweet.

I learned that if I was ate regular meals, and if my stomach was satisfied with the right foods, there was little room left for unhealthy cravings.

As I have been making my way through this journey to being 40 Days Lighter, I’ve realized that the same process I experienced to change my physical hunger, is the one needed to shift my spiritual hunger as well.

Just as I decluttered my physical diet, I have been on a journey to eliminate the distractions in my spiritual diet. I no longer choose to “partake” in negative, and even poisonous relationships. I am opting not to “feed” my soul on interactions that can’t satisfy – a good word from a friend is beautiful, but how much richer are the words that proceed from the mouth of the Creator – words that tell me that I am loved, I am accepted, I am His.

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40 Days Lighter – Day 6: Making Room for Change

Workout Drawer

Today I decided to get a refresher lesson in the art of folding clothes. I know, it sounds basic, but in this mission to declutter and organize our home, folding properly – and not cutting corners – seemed like a necessary skill to revisit.

Naturally, since I am reading Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, I started my search for a step by step guide with her videos. Here are a few that you can check out for yourself:

Marie Kondo Folds a Perfect Underwear Drawer

Marie Kondo: Basic Folding Method

I started with my workout clothes drawer, as I’ve been going to the gym early in the morning, essentially grabbing an outfit while still technically half asleep. An organized drawer would mean less time to find something to wear, less time to get ready.

The first thing I became shamefully aware of as I removed everything from the drawer, was the number of lost and lonely items in the mix – belts for outfits I no longer own, gloves and socks without a match, hats I abandoned long ago.

I had become comfortable with taking the “process” of decluttering and organizing for granted, living with the hidden mess, snatching out what I needed, and then when laundry was done, cramming them back in (folded in a hurry), all while refusing to disturb the unwanted items.

There are times in life when the “process” we need to endure for a more “ordered” life seems so daunting that it is easy to just continue on our way, business as usual, day in, day out, as if we don’t see that a dramatic change is needed. We cling to our consistent but cumbersome clutter until we become comfortable with the inconvenience of it all, rather than just facing the music and making a change.

I’ll share more about this in a future post, but my decision to finally lose the extra 30 lbs I’ve been carrying, after years of urging from my doctors, has prompted an incredible number of related changes in my life. My commitment to eating well and working out, guided, pushed and inspired by my coach and work out partner, also meant the need for easy access to my work out clothes.

For anyone who has had to make such a lifestyle change, you understand the need to set up systems to ensure success in changing the way you think about health and eating and exercise. I could not let “I can’t find anything to wear” be the hiccup that derailed my progress.

This. Process. Was. Necessary.

I stood back beaming with pride as I admired the finished project, having carefully followed the instructions in the video, folding as Marie folded.

And I promised myself that drawer by drawer, room by room, thought by thought, and pound by pound, I’m going to take my health and sanity back by continuing this journey to declutter my life.

I hope you will do the same!



Ready to join me on my journey to being 40 days Lighter? Check out the challenge that inspired my journey, and my Day 1 post!