In February, I wrote a post entitled “Reshape” and explained that I was taking it on as my word of the year for 2015. My primary goal was weight loss and while I had other goals, they went by the wayside while I focused on the physical. I don’t regret doing what I did to get to where I am but I do know that I need to focus on other areas if I want total health. This year has been one of the hardest I’ve had in a long time. I have felt far away from my husband, I have felt like a failing mother on many occasions, I have felt alone and isolated and in too many ways reminded of my struggle with postpartum depression five years ago. All along I have been determined that I would not go into that again but this year has brought me closer than I wanted to be to that dark place.
I had a year of victories that those around me were able to see and I’m sure that has lead people to assume that everything is great. I’ve gotten too good at putting on a mask in the last year and so most around me probably had no idea what a hard time I’ve had. I feel the need to be transparent here at least.
Yes, I lost weight. At the end of June, I was 35 pounds down from the start of the year. I’ve gained a bit back because I like sugar and bread a little too much but I’ve kept working out regularly since then. In November, I finished my distance goal of 2,015 kilometres, split between my elliptical and a recumbent bike. I used my second hand elliptical so much that I stripped the threads on one of the connections and had to get a new one. I have definition where I didn’t have it before and I’m wearing the size of clothing that I was when I got married almost twelve years ago. But through all these victories I’ve often felt like it wasn’t enough. And in reality, it wasn’t. Not because I hadn’t lost enough weight or because I wasn’t working out enough or watching what I ate enough – it was because I forgot about the rest of my life.
The word “reshape” has been physical for me and so while my body was reshaped my mind got out of shape. My marriage suffered – not because of my exercise or diet but because I forgot to nurture it. My kids suffered, my home suffered and most of all, my heart and mind. So many people claim that losing weight and getting fit will lead you to happiness and contentment but there is only one thing that can do that and I firmly believe that it is a relationship with God. I have had fatter years with more peace. I have had lazier years with more contentment. I’m not claiming that laziness and being overweight are godly but if your priorities are out of order, being fit and thin can be very ungodly.
So my word for 2016 is “Renew” and my goal is balance. What good will it do me in eternity if my earthly body was fit and toned and thin but I never once shared the love of Christ with my neighbour or raised up my children to love God?
Romans 12:2 says, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”
There is so much talk of physical transformation – in fact, I’ve watched a number of episodes of Extreme Weight Loss where the physical transformation is phenomenal – men and women losing over a hundred pounds after a year of exercise and diet changes. But if you still hate yourself deep down, if an unloving spirit is still at work, the obvious transformation will have done no good. The Bible encourages us to transform by renewing our minds and we can’t do that through fitness and diet changes. While I’ve read my Bible consistently this year, I don’t feel that my mind has been very renewed. I don’t know what renewing the mind looks like for a stay at home mother of six children but I do know that it is needed far more than any physical transformation that I could still go through.
So does this mean I’m going to stop working out? No. In fact, I’m looking for a new elliptical right now since the one I bought to replace the first one isn’t very comfortable to use. I’ve added some exercises with a resistance band to my routine as well. And I am facing the fact that I am a food addict and that I need to find and eliminate the roots to that before I can see more physical change. That challenge will certainly be a mind renewal as well as a physical one.
I see so many women trying hard to change their bodies through daily exercise and very restrictive eating. Most are successful and I’m certain that most feel great about the physical changes that happen with determination. But an important thing to remember is that life keeps going. Add exercise, eat less sugar, fast food, junk food, etc. but don’t forget about life. Don’t forget about your kids or your spouse. Don’t forget that you’re more than a body. I have barely written this year because my spare time has been used up in this pursuit. And when I wasn’t actually working towards these goals, my mind was consumed with when I would get in my next workout, how I would manage to make supper, get the laundry done, etc. and also get my workout done. When I was sick with pneumonia over the summer, I was more bothered by the fact that I was behind in my distance goal and I attempted to return to my routine sooner than I should have because of it.
I know I am not alone in these things but the world seems to praise this mentality right now. I don’t want to spend the next year completely out of balance so a month ahead of the new year, I’m deciding what my goal is. Not starting in a month, but starting now.