Today I start my new health and fitness journey with a 6-week boot camp. I’m excited and nervous because this is something I’ve never done before. I am an athlete and competitor by nature so you would think this 6 week challenge wouldn’t be a big deal. Well, it is! It is forcing me to dig down deeply in my soul to see why I’m so nervous about it. As I attended the nutrition class this past weekend I saw the recommended eating list, the number of times I’m required to work out and another list of “dos and don’ts.” My mind was racing. I was telling myself: “you can’t do this, you’ll never make it 6 weeks without Apple Jacks or bagels or bacon.” Yes, I have an odd list of comfort foods that I’ve had most of my adult life. I was cleaning out my pantry and discovered those were not the only comfort foods that I’ve eaten over the years. I saw my chips, luncheon meat, honey Greek Yogurt with granola, and my lemonade mix. I apparently like to get comfortable with many foods.
This made me look at what those foods have represented for me. They’ve represented familiarity, warmth, ease, and definitely – comfort. But really, how comfortable am I? I’m battling my weight, my energy is low, my skin has been breaking out like I’m a teenager and my moods have been all over the place. What kind of comfort am I truly receiving if I have to rely on makeup or can’t fit into any of the pretty summer clothes that I wore just last year! I had to pause. I had to get a better understanding about my cravings. I know there are many studies out there that talk about the addictive nature of sugar and that our “corn” and “wheat” are really not corn or wheat. I know I’m battling against myself because of how food is grown now and how eating the foods that I love will just keep me going back for more. Would I have go deny my cravings? Was that my fear about this new boot camp and eating plan?
Interestingly enough, it made me think about other cravings I have. I’ve been reading a book from my life coach trainer, Valorie Burton called “Successful Women Think Differently” and she talks about four areas that made me think about what I really crave and what I really long for in my life. The areas are: Finances, Health, Relationships, and Career. I want to take some liberty and add one that is important to me and that is Spirituality. I looked at these areas to see how aligned I was with getting comfort in those areas and discovered there were many things that I was craving.
In my finances, I want to master the monthly budget battle and making time to teach my children the value of a dollar. My 13 year old wants to start receiving an allowance and this is something I’ve never explored before. I could just give her a list of chores, make sure she does them and pay her accordingly at the end of the week but where is the lesson in that transaction. Yes, she would have done what is required to get paid, but she still will be void in the area of financial literacy. I owe her much more than an allowance to have her truly see the value of money. I owe her knowledge.
In health, I want to focus on what I’m really craving besides food. Food is easy to consume. You can find it anywhere. Most of us keep on using the same old comfort foods to help us handle stress, which keeps the weight on and doesn’t resolve the real problem. What we really want is the energy to do what we were put on earth to do but how can we do that if we let long-held habits and old mindsets leave us in a state of numbness and we just coast through life on auto-pilot. Part of us knows that those old comfort foods will keep us stuck where we are so that we won’t have to take that uncertain, unforeseen next step. Hiding in the foods that exhaust us and make us feel heavy, keeps a force field around us. It’s our own creative way to keep us from making the changes we dream about making.
In relationships, this craving for love or attention gets us into trouble. We go after the wrong guy time and time again. We stay in relationships that bring us pain but we stay because that force field that blocks our destiny gets stronger with every negative thought or emotion that keeps us stuck in a place in which we want to break free. The craving doesn’t go away. We just stuff it down with more food, alcohol, or other drugs of choice and lose more energy to get us moving in the right direction. If you are married, are you stuffing down your feelings just so your spouse won’t get angry? Are you just “keeping the peace” as my dad used to say but really, who is peaceful if they aren’t authentically themselves in a relationship. If you are single, are you getting clear signs that this partner is not “the one” but you crave a relationship so badly that you remain in something that is unfulfilling and unhappy?
In your career, are you craving a new job or maybe a new position at your current job? What are you doing about it? Are you remaining in what you think is your comfort zone but really it’s just a familiar place that provides you a paycheck? Do you want to start your own business? How many years have you talked about it but still have not made a move towards this dream? I have wanted to be a life coach for years but let life get in the way. I came up with excuse after excuse about what I didn’t know about business or who would hire me but I stepped out on faith and followed my dream to help transform lives.
That’s why spirituality is important to me. It helps me keep all my other cravings in balance. It helps me to know that God has to be at the center of my life in order for any of those other areas to fall into place. I can tell when I’m not in the right space with God. It’s when all my other cravings go into overdrive. It’s when I long for attention, my money gets funny, my health is out of whack, and my job is overwhelming that I know I’m far from God. This is what I need to crave. I need to crave more time in His word. I need to crave more time to meditate and talk to him about His plans for me and not my plans which can change like the wind.
I am excited to be making strides in the right direction with my finances, health, relationships, and career but I know that I need to get out of my comfort zone and go to God to help me on my path. That’s what we all need. We that believe know that he is our fortress and our refugee and nothing is impossible with God. Some of you may be thinking that it’s too late. The habits that you’ve created are too deeply rooted to change and that you must continue to live your life chasing cravings. That is not true. It’s never too late.
I was reading in my quiet time last week before I started this fitness journey and I knew that everything would be just fine. Isaiah 46:4 says “even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you. I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.” Those words were so powerful. Since I’m not dealing with the gray hairs just yet, I still have hope knowing that he will never leave me. He’s got me. Those words let me know that I don’t need to feel overwhelmed, sad, confused, anxious, nor afraid. He has taken on all those things so that I can be free to release the cravings and get out of my familiar zone. The more you lean in to him, the less you’ll need food, or a man, or more stuff to make you happy. So what I’m asking you is simple; do just one thing differently this week that will carry you one step closer to going after what you truly crave. What you want is waiting for you. Tear down that force field and move into your life.