By JADE WHITEHURST
I do get it. I do know what it feels like. To look in the mirror and not recognize your body. To keep the flowy, stretchy pants on repeat because they’re the only thing that truly fits — but that’s not even the defeating part, is it? Sometimes it’s seeing the end goal of where you want to be, so far ahead of where you are. Therefore you wrestle with whether it’s even worth the effort.
I want you to know I know, and I do not write this column for me. I write this for the me in my “before” picture, because she represents a lot of us, and I want you to know that it is possible, that you can do hard things and do them well.
So, how do you begin your journey to a healthier, happier you, who finds JOY and LOVE in their own fitness?
1. Compare your journey to no one’s. “The thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full” (John 10:10). When we compare our journey to someone else’s, we are allowing the enemy to instantly steal the joy of even starting. Your journey is just that: YOURS. It is supposed to be different. If you can focus on becoming 1 percent better than who you were yesterday, you are moving in the right direction.
2. Celebrate your 1 percent growth! Yes, you read that right! Celebrate even the minuscule achievements in your fitness journey. Small wins will lead to big wins, and this encouragement will catapult you to keep going. Keep in mind, a marathon runner didn’t start out running 26 miles. They had to first achieve mile 1. So celebrate your mile 1. It is just as important as mile 26.
3. Be realistic and prepare your heart and mind for setbacks. I get it, we want a clear path to victory, and one that does not have any roadblocks along the way — but that, unfortunately, is not realistic. Roadblocks will happen. Roadblocks like sickness, injuries, chaotic schedules, etc. However, remember that Romans 5:3-5 encourages us to rejoice through our sufferings. This is where the endurance is built and what makes the journey to becoming better that much sweeter! Setbacks are not our excuses; they are opportunities for growth. So when you encounter a setback, use it for growth and get better, not bitter!
4. Remember to always invite Jesus into the process. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1). Every minute, every day and every act of service is to help point ourselves and others to God. Our daily lives should be a direct reflection and response to the goodness and mercy He has so generously given us.
Therefore, let’s step into submitting it all to Him, inviting Him into our health and fitness journey, because He truly is where the joy is at — and He can be found in ALL that we do if we simply invite Him into it.
Jade Whitehurst is a wife, mom, fitness coach and eighth-grade science teacher. You can follow her on Instagram @jadewhitehurst_fit (aka The Faith Fit Mom).