YOU GUYS. I went back to my “Shed & Share” archives and do you know when the last one was? Last October–as in, almost 1 year ago?!?! WHAT?? I have slacked big time in this area! With the blog re-brand and a whole bunch of other things on my plate, I have out my favorite feature of the blog on the back-burner!! If you are new to my site, “Shed & Share” stories are real-life stories from real-life women talking about their real-life journey in their health! I used to do these on Wednesdays, but I am going to open this up and feature them whenever I can!
So to bring us back to groove of Shed & Share’s, I’d love for you to meet Kara! She has been such a great encouragement to me on my blog and she has grown her own online and off-line ministry at Wellness Witness! Please be sure to visit her site after you are done reading her inspiring story!!
Profession: Former School Counselor turned Fitness Instructor/Missionary, Mom of two
How long have you been on this weight loss journey? two and a half years
Weight Loss/Inches Lost: 25 lbs, around 26 total inches (I’m now wearing pants that I bought while I was in college!
What was your “low point”?
At Christmas of 2012, I could no longer wear 95% of my clothing. I had one pair of pants that still fit me correctly- the pair I bought right after I had delivered my first child. I was tired, out of shape, emotionally overwhelmed, and trying to survive the busy season of raising two kids along with other responsibilities. I had begin to lose a bit of who I was and felt frustrated and tired of being so tired.
How did you get started?
I have started and quit weight loss plans dozens and dozens of times. The critical turning point for me was in January of 2013 when I realized what I was up against wasn’t a physical battle at all, it was more of a spiritual one. We are accountable for how well we steward our health, just as we are our finances, our talents and our time. I determined that I wanted to glorify God in every area of my life, including my physical health. Up to that point, I had been using food to meet needs that were designed to only be met by God. I purposed that I would incorporate small, sustainable changes that could be practiced for the rest of my life, and not for a quick, short-term weight loss goal. Getting started was tough, but I relied heavily on prayer, a group of women that committed to getting healthier with me, and by reading books and blogs that encouraged me to persevere.
What is your workout routine and eating plan?
I learned that there was a difference in eating for weight loss vs. eating for fat loss and began to incorporate those principles into my daily meals. I follow the Metabolic Effect plan for my food and exercise choices which means a diet focusing on whole foods that are high in protein, lots of veggies, and low sugar fruits. I am actually eating MORE food than I used to with traditional “diet” approaches, but have lost weight and inches continually while still feeling satisfied and without cravings.
My weekly workouts consist of three days of metabolic strength training that takes about thirty minutes including warm-up and cool down, some leisurely walking, and one day of Sprint Intervals. I no longer see my workouts as something that I HAVE to make myself do, but I treasure them as an act of worship that I GET to do. I’m healthy enough to get up and move and so I’m going to do that with joy and thanksgiving.
Another before and after!
What are your top 3 favorite resources that helped you along the way?
Accountability Groups! In the beginning I relied heavily on local friends as well as an online group called the Momsanity Sisterhood.
Revelation Wellness (www.revelationwellness.org) and Alisa Keeton
PrayFit and Jimmy Pena (www.prayfit.org)
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is sitting on the sidelines and waiting?
Start now. Choose ONE healthy habit and master it before moving on to another. God created your body and it matters to Him how we take care of it. Start somewhere and determine to persevere in HIS strength. Don’t be so overwhelmed about doing it all perfectly that you don’t do anything. Start where you are, ask God to help you, and then step forward. Freedom is ahead, friend!
Kara and her group exercise class!
What one piece of advice would you give to someone who is in the process but is feeling discouraged?
I constantly had to remind myself of a quote by Jimmy Pena from PRAYFIT. He said, “a healthy lifestyle isn’t about the mirror, it’s about the One we are trying to mirror”. For me, getting healthy became my act of worship- an offering I committed and gave to Him on a daily basis. This kept me going when I was discouraged because it wasn’t about me or how I looked physically.
I tell people to think about it like this: If you’ve got kids, I’m sure at one point or another they’ve given you a craft that they made. It may not be beautiful or even functional, but you TREASURE the gift because of how you feel about your child. Right? It’s the same with our health. We treasure the gift we’ve been given (our bodies) because of the way that we feel about the Gift Giver (God). That changes EVERYTHING.
If you are a parent, how have you balanced everything?
This took practice. I had to learn that done was better than perfect, and that some days, if all I could get in was a 10 minute workout, that’s what I did. I also had to learn to stop beating myself up for days that I got off track, and that one bad choice does not mean I need to throw in the towel for the rest of the week.
My kids know that taking care of my body is important to me, and have started to pick up on the same healthy habits that I incorporate. They also exercise with me often and encourage me to keep going when I’m in the middle of a difficult workout and am struggling. I am a better mom when I’m taking care of myself physically and spiritually. I’m more patient, more loving, and have more energy to keep up with my kids.
Some days I workout in the family room while they watch their favorite tv show before bedtime. Sometimes I run sprints in the backyard while they play. From time to time, I let them be in the exercise videos that I film and I love to watch their little faces as they’re listening to my pray and teach and encourage. I try to help them see that their Mama is willing to submit ALL things to God, including her health, even when it’s hard.
Anything else you would like to share?
I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter how “fit” I become, or how lean my physique may be, if my heart is far from God. My first priority needs to be making sure that I am in line with Him through my quiet time and prayer, and then I can focus on my physical health.
This journey isn’t just about the weight! There is so much more that God wants to teach us through the process. God used getting healthy physically to turn my life absolutely upside down and sent me into new places I had never before dreamed of going. In fact, so much so, that I’ve left my full-time career to pursue teaching Biblical wellness full-time! I have learned that His plans are so much better than our own and that we can trust Him. Where He sends, He provides. And God isn’t after your waist line, friends, He is after your heart.
Also, Group support and accountability while you are trying to get healthier is CRITICAL. There are SO many good resources out there for you that you can utilize online, or even groups you could join in your community. A few good suggestions are: the Momsanity Sisterhood (www.momsanitysisterhood.com ) , Revelation Wellness VIP-TV ( http://www.revelationwellness.org/workout-plans/viptv/ ) , PrayFit (http://www.prayfit.org/pioneer ) or join us over at the WellnessWitness page.
Whether you choose to join us over at Wellness Witness, or another faith based fitness group, find a group and get plugged in. By walking through this journey with others you will be encouraged and will achieve greater success.
A girl after my own heart right here! Isn’t her story inspiring?! Thank you for sharing, Kara!
If you have a shed story that you would like to share, please contact me! I would love to have you on the blog!! email@example.com
p.s. Those of you reading this when I first published it (September 2015) I’ve got a big announcement coming on Wednesday so stay tuned!!