Friday, September 16, 2011

Weight of a Woman

Women and weight... ugh the never ending battle... my grandmother is in her late 70's and still as a woman I don't think I have ever spent an entire day with her that losing weight doesn't come up in the conversation.

When do we stop looking in the mirror and measuring ourselves according to our waste line?
When do I stop staring at my reflection in the mirror and sighing over this flesh?

I actually hadn't worried about the weight factor much here lately... I've had too many other things on my plate that just required the priority of my thoughts. But now with several of my facebook friends posting about their zumba classes and their workout shakes and their weight loss goals... and not to mention our beach trip at the end of the month... well now I look at myself in the mirror critically once again.

The truth is I am a yo-yo girl.

I have at least three different sizes of clothing in my closet at all times because I never know what size I am going to be. I fluctuate in weight. One month I am up and then the next month I am down... At the moment I am coasting on the - between the yo's and by the handful of gut I just managed to grab off of my midsection it would appear my yo is on the way up not down. 

So now the thoughts of starting back on that exercise commitment is coming back to the forefront of my mind. I am one of those weird solo only workout girls. I don't want others watching me while I workout. I don't want a fan club or an accountability weigh in partner. Even when I had the opportunity to go to the gym I would stick the earphones in and get'er done and head home. 

There are two things in my life that I thoroughly enjoy most alone... my time with God and my workouts (when I actually did workout). I have also always reserved my mornings for both. My workout time usually coincided with my time with God because prayer just seems to come automatically with pushing ourselves physically.

Life got crazy a year ago and the workout time was flung out the window...
Since then I have survived on coffee not endorphins.

I know that I feel better when I exercise. I feel better about myself and I just feel better period. But knowing this and remembering this does not help in the actuality of getting up and doing it. Then I end up in this vicious cycle of feeling bad because I am not exercising and then depressed because I cannot manage to muster the internal push to do something about it.  

WebMD has this to say about the link between exercise and depression:

"Want to learn more about exercise and depression? Many studies indicate that people who exercise regularly benefit with a positive boost in mood and lower rates of depression.

What Are the Psychological Benefits of Exercise With Depression?

Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.
Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a run or workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.
Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. The neuron receptors endorphins bind to are the same ones that bind some pain medicines. However, unlike with morphine, the activation of these receptors by the body's endorphins does not lead to addiction or dependence.
Regular exercise has been proven to help:
  • Reduce stress
  • Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
  • Boost self-esteem
  • Improve sleep
Exercise also has these added health benefits:
  • It strengthens your heart.
  • It increases energy levels.
  • It lowers blood pressure.
  • It improves muscle tone and strength.
  • It strengthens and builds bones.
  • It helps reduce body fat.
  • It makes you look fit and healthy.
So there is a wonderful, sensible, list composed by health professionals of some of the benefits of regular exercise and thus here's my wonderful sensible list of excuses as to why I have not took part in exercise for a year...

* I will have to put on exercise clothes, plus later my regular clothes, which means double the laundry and I already can't keep up  
* I will have to take a shower, I could do the messy bun and get by today without a shower if I don't get all hot and sweaty from working out
* I will have to get up earlier than I already do
* I won't have time for my whole pot of coffee if I spend time exercising
* I have hardwood floors and they just simply are not comfortable for floor exercises and besides, ick, the dog hair
* I had rather have the extra time to study my Bible
* Hmmmm no, today I had rather sleep the extra time
* I might wake the family up and then I wouldn't have my quiet time with God
* What's the point anyway, this flesh is just going to whither away
* I am just too tired
* I don't live any where near a gym and really isn't that money better budgeted somewhere else and if I can't go to the gym why start anything else
* My "fat jeans" still fit... so I'm good
* Hey it's summer, I can just wear loose sundresses and flip flops that way my rolls won't show
* Hey it's spring/fall wind pants and jeans and t-shirts, woo-hoo, that way my rolls won't show
* Hey it's winter, layers, layers, layers, that way my rolls won't show
* I don't feel bad from lack of exercise, but from lack of sleep... therefore hit "snooze"

Ugh... yes just a few of my list of excuses.

So the weight of a woman is always heavy on her mind... whether we like it or not.

I am trying hard with the ears of my girls always perking up to listen to try and not complain about my body... this body that God gave me. I do not want them to hear me complain about things I cannot change. Like my height, my freckles, my chubby cheeks, my short waste, my large calves and my birthin' hips. Bones are bones, this is how God knit me in my mother's womb and He said I was fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139). 

I remember having my self-worth plummeted by snide comments made about parts of my body. Being poked in the stomach and called "pudge" being laughed at and told that "boys don't like freckles on a girls legs" and being told that I had a "man's back" and "birthing hips". Crazy comments made by people who probably thought they were being funny at the time. These are comments that were made over 15 years ago yet still remembered today. However, they no longer have power over me.

How thankful I am that God placed a man in my life to be my husband that has never made a comment about my body that I can recall in a negative light. He has never openly compared my body to another woman's body. So in all honesty I do desire to maintain the standard that he seems to enjoy to the best of my ability. I suppose that's one of the biggest reasons why the exercise issue is on my mind again...

That and I am tired of feeling tired and I want my family to have a healthy wife and mother spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically.

And yes, most definitely the fact that FB is throwing it up in my face daily has something to do with it as well.

So maybe it is time to put away the excuses and just get busy... hmmm maybe that shall be my Fall resolution. As the trees turn over a new leaf maybe I should as well.

This is a post from John Piper's blog:

In the previous post I mentioned what I do for excercise. Now is the why.
Disclaimer: I doubt that I ever had a motive so pure it had no sin in it. So you are welcome to fault any of this as tinged with vanity. What I can see, I have confessed. What I can’t, the Lord will bring to light sooner or later.
I just don’t like being overweight. My pants fit funny. I can’t see my belt. When I was about 19 I went golfing with some overweight evangelists. They said, “Well look at that flat stomach on Johnny. Just give him another ten years.” At that moment something happened inside me. I said nothing out loud, but inside I said, “It’s not going to happen.” I suspect there was sin in that. But the resolve is still there.
Quickly, another disclaimer: There is a difference between obesity and gluttony. I was set straight on this one after I made some hurtful blunders. Some people are overweight who have issues very different from gluttony. Never assume that overweight equals lazy and undisciplined.

For Purity and Productivity

Today, my main motive for exercise is purity and productivity. By purity I mean being a more loving person (as Jesus said, “love your neighbor,” Matthew 22:39). By productivity I mean getting a lot done (as Paul said, “abounding in the work of the Lord,” 1 Corinthians 15:58).
Underneath most of my besetting sins is despondency. I am less prone to such melancholy when I hammer my body three times a week. The reason could be endorphins. Could be ego. Whichever, it’s cheaper than Prozac or psychotherapy. I’m simply happier. And I sleep better. I have more energy.
Most of that energy goes into the Bible and preaching and people. And the fruit from that is, I hope, edification. Which means I exercise to be a more loving person and a better pastor.

How the Spirit Produces Fruit

If you ask how the fruit of exercise relates to the fruit of the Spirit, my answer is this: The Holy Spirit produces his fruit both directly and indirectly. He can zap you in your worst moments and make you kind. But he often does it indirectly.
For example, if you are impatient when you get little sleep, and if patience is a fruit of the Spirit (which it is, Galatians 5:22), very likely the Holy Spirit will not only remind you of the sufferings of Christ and the glory of God’s promises, but he will also give you the humility to stop being God and to bed at 9:30.
And if you sleep better when you regularly exercise, then the Holy Spirit will also give you the humble discipline to exercise so that you sleep better so that you are more patient. If he does it that way, it is still his fruit.
I could add that doctors say being fit will help protect me from a hundred diseases and bad effects of aging. I suspect that’s true. But if that were my main motive, I probably wouldn’t drink Diet Coke.
So, in short, I have one life to live for Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:15). I don’t want to waste it. My approach is not mainly to lengthen it, but to maximize purity and productivity now. I want to show as much gospel truth and publish as much gospel truth as I can. I have found, for 43 years, that exercise helps. I think God set it up that way.

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