Why?

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Blue skies and sunny weather. Perfect for a stroller jog. But instead I stand here with Zane strapped into the Ergo snuggled on my chest and smelling faintly of vomit while I keep an eye on Cade systematically hosing down the entire backyard. Black wrap encases my ankle and allows me to rock Zane back and forth without too much pain.

God is good.

Having Zane get the stomach bug the morning after I wrenched my ankle may not sound convenient, but basically I only have one energetic boy to worry about- the other stays somnolent. Earlier, as I pondered how to look on the bright side while mopping up the explosion in Zane’s crib, I mused over last night’s deep felt chagrin after spraining my ankle doing nothing more strenuous than walking. I was even wearing athletic shoes.

Every time I get injured (which has thankfully happened less frequently over the past few years) I view it as a personal affront and betrayal. How dare my body succumb to such a thing! Triple the embarrassment now as I tout the benefits of balanced eating and consistent exercise and here I am falling over in my backyard. Last time I sprained my ankle-the left one I think- it had been going down ONE STEP onto a sidewalk while I was pregnant with Cade. One step. I could, and did, blame that heavily on the pregnancy hormone relaxin that make everything stretchy and loose in preparation for childbirth-but the truth is I’m a clumsy person with weak ankles.

It is easy, for me at least, to fall into the trap that leading an intentionally healthy lifestyle makes you immune to injury and disease. That eating clean will prevent me from getting the flu, that lifting weights will keep all back injuries at bay, that cardio will ward off a heart attack, that enough fruits and veggies will prevent cancer. But the truth is-the world is fallen.

All good things come from God. The design of my body is perfect, the reality in this world is not. Adam and Eve brought death, disease, and sprained ankles into the world, and no amount of clean eating is going to change that.

But.

BUT that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. As I chafe at being housebound with a limp, as the dishes pile up while I wipe up more diarrhea, as I ungraciously cope with the physical reality of sin I am strengthened in my resolve to combat it.

In the midst of the mess, my “why” solidified. I do this-the exercise, the nutrition, the coaching-I do this because our bodies are gifts that we have been blessed with, and taking good care of them is a form of fighting the world. I love a fight with clearly defined lines of good and evil-but those battles just don’t exist much outside of fiction. THIS, however, is a fight I can throw myself into wholeheartedly, with no worry for my combatants. I am fighting disease and injury, the consequences of sin. I am maintaining and loving the body God gave me, and fighting the long lasting effects of Adam and Eve’s decision. One day He will make my body perfect in His presence, until then I’ll invest in the reflection I have.

Melodramatic, I know, haha, but it’s the truth. No matter what words I choose it still sounds fanciful or cheesy, but all the other “whys” I could give (like “to be an example for my children”) are just small motivators in a much larger perspective. So, I apologize for the grandiose “why”, I can’t help it, it’s how my mind works.

Now excuse me, I’ve got to go strip one more diaper of runny poo and take a hot epsom salt bath for my ankle. Fight the good fight!

We Interrupt Your Scheduled Program…

Sundays are my rest days. I don’t exercise, I don’t cook much-it’s pancakes for dinner, and I generally relax, recoup, and spend time with my family. We’ve been trying different churches here in El Paso in the mornings, and I’m going to attempt another OCF meeting tonight. I’m mentioning this because it’s something I haven’t yet talked about on here but that is inextricable from healthy living. Not just rest, but wholeness. I focus a lot on physical health on this blog, but emotional, intellectual, and spiritual health are equally as important, and in my opinion Spiritual wellness trumps all the others. So today’s blog isn’t about food relationships (we’ll get back to that tomorrow) it’s gonna be a bit rambling and not quite as organized, but I need to throw it out there. Much like I was nervous about posting that I am a Beachbody coach and I’m enjoying their trademark drink Shakeology, I need to make it clear to any readers that I am a Christian and my faith is a driving force behind what I do. I can’t separate it out. Exercise, for me, is also a worship experience. Loving my body is directly inline with loving the God who created it for me.

I’m ADHD (see, told you this post would be scattered) and the hardest thing for me to do is shut down my brain. As a child I remembered trying a watch under my pillow (I ended up counting the ticks and was in the 3000’s before I finally chucked it across the room), praying, reading, shadow puppets, ANYTHING to get my brain to SHUT UP. I’d stay awake well over an hour past bedtime listening to my little sister snore away and I’d get increasingly frustrated that I couldn’t fall asleep. I finally figured out what worked best-absolutely zero light, going to bed about an hour before I wanted to fall asleep, and creating an elaborate story in my mind that I would replay, rearrange, and continue scenes of in my head every night. I began to look forward to bedtime just so I could work on my mind story. Now, I still have a hard time falling asleep, but the mind numbing exhaustion that comes with having children helps a lot and I can fall asleep in under half an hour most nights.

But when I exercise-my mind relaxes. It is the most addicting part of exercise for me. For 30 minutes a day I focus singly on exercising my body, so-since that paradoxically takes up all my focus and allows me to UNfocus-I get 30 minutes of relaxation while doing squats, and planks, and whatever. Running is the best. Sometimes when I’m running I can almost think of nothing. Just the typical sensory input of the where I am running, what it looks like, how my feet feel, etc. etc. So while I’m exercising, I often pray. Not generally articulate words-although sometimes I do when I’m running-but more of just a constant dialogue of gratitude and amazement for the strength in my muscles and the feel of a stretch and the wonders of a warm and loving home with beautiful children who are active and healthy and just, thanks. Over and over again thanks.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have grumpy workouts, too. But workouts where I start grumpy and END grumpy are very, very, seldom. I am struck anew again and again by how complex the human body is, and am re-fascinated by how everything works to give me motion and balance and strength, how everything feels-from the pounding of my heart to the mat squished beneath my toes to the flush I feel creep up my skin as my body temp rises. Exercise for me is sensual, and things sensual for me are always spiritual. Many people really appreciate music, they feel it body and soul. I feel body and soul when I exercise. My God, My God, how You have created me!

This is why the scale has no power over me (I quite honestly don’t know where ours is currently, haha). I like progress, sure, but who I am and my self-worth is not based on my appearance or weight. I want to be healthy, to feed my body the food it needs, to build my muscles, to keep my skeletal system strong, to fortify my immune system, to be kind to my digestive system, to essentially care for this earthly body that was given into my care. It all circles back to that. And I experience such joy in this. There are days where I don’t want to, there are days where it is hard to turn the TV on and start warming up. I have two small boys who are nonstop from the moment they wake up until they fall asleep again. I. Am. Tired. But the discipline of an exercise program is part and parcel of where I find my joy. I suck at the “typical” daily devotionals- I usually read theology books in chunks and then digest them over a week or two-but if I exercise I get that chance to pray, and doing it faithfully is, for me, a tiny way to faithfully worship Christ.

SO there you have it, my drive and motivation for staying healthy is one of complete wellness, not for a number on a scale or a certain dress size. I am not trying to say all Christians should worship when they sweat (Here I am to workout, Here I am to burpee, Here I am to pushup for you’re my God…) or that every time I sweat I am having a stellar communique with the divine. But this IS the biggest single motivation/reward/drive for why I strive to lead a healthy lifestyle. Until I get my heavenly body, I will do my best to treasure the earthly one.

Just thought you should know. 🙂