Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can. — Arthur Ashe
That’s what teammate Lamica decided. After meeting with her health care provider and learning some distressing news, she decided to take action – now. Having maintained a fairly normal weight up until her 40’s and escaping the need to take any medications, she considered herself ‘pretty healthy.’ But the reality was, she didn’t know how lousy she felt until she began making some changes to her diet and exercise patterns. Lamica joined ‘the team’ in the Summer Slim Down, saying that the plan gave her “easy things to do” and provided ideas she hadn’t considered before.
She is changing her life, invigorating her future, setting an example for her family, and transforming her family tree. The process of adapting new food and lifestyle patterns requires commitment and assurance that the future holds more potential than momentary pleasure. But, she hasn’t done it alone. Nope! Lamica has been working alongside so many of you who are doing the sweaty work and seeking to honor God in how you eat and move your body!
We overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the Word of our testimony (Revelations 12:11). If you are in the process of transforming your health and relationship with food, you are an overcomer too – one step at a time. This is Lamica’s story. It’s not finished, but none of us are. She is learning how to love God, love others and serve the world by first caring for the only temple that allows her the energy, mental capacity and physical ability to do so.
A Good Health Testimony
What inspired you to begin making some changes to your diet and lifestyle?
LB: For the past year or so I noticed I had been extremely tired. I would have frequent morning headaches even after a full night’s sleep and then feel sluggish all day. For a while, I attributed it to a change in my work schedule. So, I began taking vitamins to boost my energy levels. Three vitamin choices and 6 months later, I was still exhausted.
After hearing my symptoms my doctor decided to do a sleep study. I ‘failed’ the sleep test and the results revealed that I had sleep apnea.
They gave me three potential options for treatment:
- Use of a CPAP machine while sleeping
- Lose weight
Losing weight was the only option I thought would work for me.
What was the first step you took?
LB: I immediately began taking my dog on longer, more frequent walks. Instead of going out twice a day, I increased it to 4x a day. My son joined a local gym and added me to his account as a guest.
How long have you been working on these changes so far?
LB: Most of these strategic exercise changes began July 2017, but I did begin making some dietary modifications this spring.
Did you feel overwhelmed? What helped you focus?
LB: In the area of exercise, I was a little overwhelmed because I have never been an athlete or athletic in any way. I told myself that I would learn one new thing every week and implement it at the gym. These were small steps like how to use a specific weight machine.
What are a few specific changes you have made nutritionally?
LB: I terminated my relationship with Ben & Jerry’s ice cream as of April 2017! I was consuming 2 pints per week, so I figured that I had to be radical in cutting off my attachment to ice cream since I was eating it so consistently. The first month was the most difficult, but I haven’t been tempted to go back. I always think about how long it will take me on the treadmill to burn off the fat, calories, and sugar – it’s not worth it!
I discontinued late night eating. After 7pm, if I get hungry, I take it as a sign that I need to drink a bottle of water. Usually by the time I finish an 8oz bottle I feel fine. If I’m still hungry I will have a small apple.
I eliminated all soda from my diet and replaced it with water. This was an easy way to cut out extra sugar and calories (learned this from the article What Are You Drinking? that discussed calories in beverages). This concept was enlightening – I had never thought about the calories in the beverages I was drinking.
I replaced high-calorie snacks (potato chips, chocolate chip cookies) with fruits and vegetables (apples, peaches, bananas, carrots and hummus).
How have the Summer Slim Down and Good Health articles helped you along this journey?
The articles have helped a lot, especially the Slim Down Series! These are several takeaways I found insightful and applicable:
Eat more living foods. This was a concept I implemented immediately! Summer time gave me the perfect chance to visit the local Farmers Market and I had the opportunity to try a few different salad recipes that I hadn’t prepared before.
Plan workouts a week in advance. This strategy has helped me get organized, focused, and avoid wasting time. Planning gives me time to do YouTube research on how to properly use machines and proper form so I feel confident in the gym.
Eat only 1 regular sized plate at gatherings and parties. I stuck to this tip the entire summer! While I admit that it was difficult and felt out of the ordinary in the beginning, I stuck to it!
Since you mentioned that you began this journey to lose weight and improve your health due to sleep apnea, can you share any physical or health changes so far?
- My clothes fit better; I am down 1 dress size.
- I’ve lost 3 inches on my hips and 1 inch off my waist!
- I’ve noticed that I’m getting much better quality sleep – maybe it’s because I’m so tired from my workouts! I also go to bed an hour earlier.
- Snoring has reduced significantly.
Is your family making changes too? How has your decision and the steps you have taken affected them?
LB: My family has not knowingly made any changes, but I have adjusted what I have been feeding them. I have found some healthier recipes to prepare, but they haven’t noticed the gradual change in what I am cooking. I have 3 college age sons and a husband who eat almost everything I put in front of them.
Do you ever feel unmotivated to exercise? How do you address that?
LB: I feel good about my choice to exercise and like to go to the gym early in the morning to use the free weights without a lot of people around. I stay motivated knowing I will have one day off per week and I really look forward to that! Cardio exercise is not my favorite, but my son encourages me to do that first and get it out of the way. He coaches me to make it quick and intense so I try to run my mile as fast as I can! Then, I get off and don’t even look at the treadmill the rest of the workout!
Have you encountered any challenges making changes to your diet?
LB: The changes have been gradual and small so it has not been difficult for me. I have the ability to make a conscious choice about what I put into my body. No longer am I eating without thinking anymore.
Do you ever feel “deprived?” If so, how do you respond to that feeling?
LB: I have never felt deprived because if I want something I can eat it. My realization is that in the past I did not exercise any self-control. Now I have shifted my thinking about how I am caring for the temple that God gave me. I know that I have to be healthy to fulfill his purposes and I am taking my health a lot more seriously.
How has your perception of caring for your “temple” changed through this process so far?
LB: My perception of caring for my ‘temple’ has changed a lot! I knew my body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, but I had not connected my unwise food choices and patterns as dishonoring it.
One revelation is that I was an emotional eater – I put my emotions into a pint of ice cream at least 2x a week. This practice revealed a ‘heart issue’ meaning that I was using food in place of God. I can now waltz past the ice cream section in the store without a second look – it feels great!
The sin was the practice of making food an idol and submitting myself to a fleshly craving rather than submitting myself and emotions to God in prayer. Like the deception of the enemy, it was promised that I’d feel better after I ate all that sugar…Ben & Jerry said they were my friends but they only made me fat!
Do you ever experience peer pressure to eat a food that is not what you want to choose? How do you practically and mentally handle that?
LB: I make up my mind and stick to my decision. This is a life change, not a 6-week diet. Every day, I can choose to eat what I want to eat. Now I am more conscious that I do have a choice – God gives us the power to choose.
The best way I handle peer pressure is to have a plan and then stick to it. Deciding in advance what I will and will not eat, before I leave the house, leads to the most success.
Have you identified any negative thinking or lies you believed about yourself or your body that was affecting your dietary or exercise choices in the past?
LB: “As a man thinks so is he.” Before, I didn’t have any confidence that I could even begin my journey toward a healthier me. I had believed the lie of the enemy that I was too old, too out of shape, and too in love with ice cream. Had to stop the negative talk and agree with God’s Word and what He says about me. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength!”
Every day I pray, “Lord give me strength to do this workout so I can be ‘fit’ for your kingdom – GOD make me KINGDOM FIT!”
What are 2 practical things you do every day to stay mentally healthy and persevere?
LB: Lay out my workout clothes/shoes the night before outside of my bedroom so that I don’t wake my husband up for my early morning workout.
Pre-plan meals for the week instead of thinking about it after work. This leads to less stress and less temptation to eat what I shouldn’t.
What has been the hardest part of your journey so far? What got you through?
LB: The hardest part was changing my mindset before I started. Once I made up my mind it became much easier to execute. Before, I was not serious or committed. I was interested in improving my health but hadn’t come to a place where I wanted to actually take action.
In the past, drinking enough water was a huge struggle, but now after a sweaty workout, it is all I want!
Is there a scripture you meditate on that encourages you when you feel weak?
LB: 2 Timothy 4:17 “But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength.” I picture him in the gym with me helping me with my work out. When I feel like giving up, I remind myself that He is with me.
2 Corinthians 5:17 “…Old things are passed away (old eating habits, old thought patterns) and all things are new (new attitude, new body, new strength).”
What are some upcoming health goals you have for yourself or changes you still want to make?
LB: I want to see muscle definition in my arms without worrying about looking like a ‘flabby Patty.’
How would you encourage someone who desires to make some lifestyle changes but is struggling?
LB: If you desire to make some lifestyle changes, I’d like to encourage you to evaluate your self-talk. What lies about yourself and your ability are you believing? Combat that negative talk with the truth of God’s Word.
What is 1 thing you encourage someone to do, today, to take just 1 step?
LB: Pick only one thing and work on it until you master it. This could be walking for 15 minutes, or drinking a single bottle of water per day. Do only one thing and work on it until you master it.
What an inspiring story! You have a teammate who is doing this with you! And, if God can transform Lamica, He will help you too!
Lamica has discovered that there is no magic supplement or formula to transform her health. She is renewing her mind with the truth, making conscious and intentional decisions, and drawing upon supernatural strength each and every day. And, yeah, sweating a little bit too!