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Fat, Fear, & Faith: What Does it Really Mean to be Healthy?

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Happy Spurling - Regular Font

Kayla Lanier - Bold Font 


Hey friends, this is Happy Spurling with Renewed Hope Women's Wellness. Our episode today is Fat, Fear, and Faith: What Does it Really Mean to be Healthy?

So the question, what does it really mean to be healthy? I think we have an idea in our minds about fitness level and weight loss and what we look like and how much energy we're supposed to have. And then we go onto a website or on Google and we're like, "oh, we're supposed to be doing this diet or this plan."

And yet sometimes, the healthy part is something that's just really hard to attain. Do you feel like there's a lot of confusion or in your experience that it has been a quest to be healthy, and has really been much harder than what it seems, and even some paths can lead you down the wrong road with that?

And I know you had a lot of experiences growing up and that you're still on a journey, but what, what has that been like for you as a young woman to have all the comparisons that we have online and through social media and looking at that as a teenager and then a young woman and feeling like I don't measure up, and how am I supposed to look and what am I supposed to do to attain that?

And is it really about that at all? So I'd love to hear a little bit about your journey in that.

Absolutely. I will say I like to think that I'm on the tail end of this journey, but unfortunately, what I went through is not something that, necessarily, you can forget. I was 11, maybe 12 years old, and I remember just looking at myself in the mirror one day and just being struck by my appearance and finding it really odd.

And then I just started to slowly decrease my nutrition. I would try to eat as less as possible throughout the day, try to run around the house or run through the woods. In my mind, I was telling myself, "Well, I'm just playing outside and enjoying the fresh air." But really I was trying to burn calories, and for an 11, 12-year-old kid, that's kind of strange. You don't really think about those kinds of things.

I had a beautiful childhood. I wasn't surrounded by many magazines and, of course, definitely didn't have social media back then. I think Facebook was just beginning. I really didn't have any kind of outside negativity that would influence that. I was never bullied.

I did have a childhood best friend that was a lot more petite than I was, and I found myself envying her quite a bit and wanting to be like her. And there were a few comments made back and forth like, "How are you that size? How are you so small? How can I be that way?" I would look at my arms and legs and make comparisons like, "Oh, well, I should be thinner."

I was a stocky kid growing up, and as my friend put it, muscular, husky, but I was healthy. I wasn't even overweight, which is really crazy. Well that progressed more and more, and by the time I was 15, I was exercising three to four hours a day. Cardio, cardio, cardio. And if I did strength training, it was usually cardio-based. Anything high intensity.

I got into the Insanity workouts, everything, Beachbody. When I was 17, I decided to be a Beachbody coach and then that sucked me in even more. Cause I was trying all their diet plans. I was doing shakeology and I was trying to encourage everyone else around me to get into it. It was one of those things that I just really couldn't run away from, and then I realized, I'm like, I think I might have a problem, but I lived in denial for a long time.

I would wake up in the morning so hungry and just continue to go out and go for runs. Even though I could tell that my energy was low and that my body hurt and ate, I still kept making sure that I was burning off as much as I possibly could. If I had to sit in the car for any longer than 30 minutes, I would get so anxious and I would start getting upset, and it was unexplainable.

I just, I didn't wanna be in any sedentary position at any time. I just wanted to constantly be moving. Anyways, when I got into college I couldn't even complete my classes because I would be up at 5:00 or 4:00 AM in the morning doing crazy workouts, not eating, and then coming to class completely exhausted, falling asleep, because I had to get those numbers in. I had to get the cardio in.

I look back now and I see a lot of the wrong turns that I took, and I regret it because of the way my body is now. And I've had to kind of retrack and take care of my joints finally and stop doing a lot of high-impact exercises. And it affected me. I lost my cycle for a few years and, and all those things, they don't just happen. And then you're like, "Oh, well, no big deal and my cycle's back. I'm doing better now." You end up living with lifelong implications or even like develop Graves disease or hypothyroidism or Hashimoto's, things that are like detrimental to your health, lifelong infertility. Like and I didn't realize that.

People didn't talk about eating disorders until the last few years.

Right? They didn't talk about mental health. And that's what's so crazy is like, It's great to hear these people talking about it in the open, but like growing up in the 2000s where everyone wanted to wear low-rise jeans and you had to make sure that there was no sign of any skin or anything that would rise above that, any muffin tops. Such a pressuring thing, cuz we should be allowed to have a body, to have health and not to be some kind of like rail thin picture, you know, in our minds and in our struggle and our journey. I will say I'm doing a lot better going through a lot that I have gone through. I've learned to give myself grace.

This isn't meant to sound harsh in any way, but eating disorders are a bit of a luxury here in America.

That's something I know you had said earlier too, is that it seems to be a mostly a developed country problem. Because we, it is a luxury, you know, and the way we're so driven in our pursuits through social media and all, I mean, yes, health is very important, being fit is very important, but there's that line between that and where it crosses over into being unhealthy in those patterns.

And yeah, it is definitely, I think, a luxury to be able to have that. And yet at the same time, a terrible burden to bear. You know?


Because having to live in that is is really hard. And I think it was more about you having a mindset change, because people can sit back and judge and say, "Well, you just need to eat."

But they don't understand that's not the issue, that this is something that goes deeper than that, and you have to deal with it from the root, you know? Or else it's gonna just manifest in some other way and people that aren't walking through it, I don't think understand truly. It's not like you can just get up and say, that's not healthy. I'm not doing that anymore.

Right. It's addictive. It feels virtuous to be hungry when you haven't an eating disorder. It's a true mental disorder. It's about control really. Like if you can't control other things in your life, you're going to try and at least control your food. And I think that's where it stems from.

And that there is a way out of those, but you do have to be able to define why, you know, what led me down that road and, and I think it's really, there's just so many voices yelling out. This is what you have to look like to be thin or to be fit, or to be healthy, or even the opposite, you know, maybe you don't weigh enough. And there's that in your mindset too.

You know that we've kind of got such a garbled mess of body image now that it...

Yeah, like you can be fat, but it has to be in the right places.


You can be overweight, but it needs to be curvy.

I know men struggle with comparison too, but I think it does seem to hit women differently because we are our own worst critic we do tend to judge ourselves so harshly, and I think with social media and everything that's come out, it's not news to know that people aren't what they seem, and yet we think we're gonna be able to attain something that's actually not attainable for them. It's just a lot of filters and, and things that we think, oh, they are what I strive to be. But I think to be healthy is to be healthy in your own body, to have a healthy outlook and a healthy mind about it, and just kind of dismantling that idea that more is better. Eating less food is better, and exercising more is better.

And that's not really a balance.


And when something's out of balance, then it's gonna show up. I think to define health is, it's your whole life, you know, and how you come to the table as far as eating your meals, and also how you enter into exercise, you know? And then it can be a place. That does truly make you healthier.

But to not get in that trap where we think that it's to be skinny, to be a certain size, to have the right curves, but to really be comfortable in our own skin means a lot more than just a trendy thing that people are doing.

Well. Yeah, and as a woman, your body's gonna change. You're gonna change from who you were as a 15 year old to who you are now. Maybe you've had children or you're thinking about having children. I mean, my body has changed. It's fluctuated. My weight has fluctuated. But being comfortable with that and knowing that it's natural, and also if you want a healthy routine, knowing that you shouldn't feel like you're about to die every time you get done exercising, or you shouldn't be starving to the point where you feel like passing out, there's a level of health there that has been skewed.

Thank you so much for letting us share a little bit to your story because I think that it's so important that we hear each other's story and that you'll be able to be used in other people's story in a way differently than I am because your journey has led you there already, so you're able to understand things that other people don't on that side. And I think it's a gift when we are coming through a journey, and I know you're not done yet, and I think it's evolving, you know, it should be that we all learn more and more about what it really means to be healthy and that there's so many lies about fat. And now I think it's becoming more accepted that fat's not a bad thing in our diet and that we need fats.

And it's like, it's always been true, but you know, just all the different fads that we've went through and. And the fear, I think dealing with the root, a lot of that would you say is the need to look a certain way? The need to be a certain way is really based in fear that you're not gonna be accepted for who you are, and that dealing with that, pulling that out by the root is really the path to healing and what it actually would mean to be healthy mentally, you know, so that you can be healthy physically.

Right. And speaking of mentally, it's important to have a spiritual practice to lean on. You know, something where you can take all the crazy thoughts that are buzzing through your head about what you should be doing or what you shouldn't be eating and give them to God. Because honestly, that's the only thing that's brought me this far.

I think, so much of this is shutting out the voices that yell at us from every turn and say, this is what you need to be and actually asking the Lord, what do you want for me? What do you want for my life? And how we have value in Him. And then we're not so caught up in what we're supposed to be for other people because we know we're accepted and loved completely by the Lord.

And I think there's a lot of freedom in that, which is where the, the fat, fear, and faith, you need to believe in something so much greater than us, which is the Lord, and be able to know that there's freedom in that, freedom in letting it go, and also freedom in Christ to pursue a healthy life.

I just wanna share one more thing.

I think the best takeaway here is that once I let go of all that, I'm in the best shape of my life, better than anything I ever tried to strive for and very healthy and, and mentally sound.

And I think you said something too before we close out that, you know, a lot of people ask in the office, you know, what's the best exercise that I can do when I'm doing client consultations?

And I always say to them, the best exercise is the one you can do and will do. And the best diet is the one that you will do looking at exercise and saying, "Hey, maybe I'm not good at HIT training, but I love to walk."

Right. Or dance in the kitchen.

Yeah. And not make it this workout time because I mean, I'm busy, we're all busy and sometimes you feel like I don't even have 30 minutes in my life to go and do this exercise or to drive to a gym. But you can move. I mean, anyone can move and so do things that you love instead of just making it such a chore. And that's a good place to start when things are out of balance, is just to kind of lay it on the table and say, I'm gonna not do it this way anymore and celebrate that.

Things that are, you know, low impact are just as great. And if you like high intensity, go for it. But you're really hating it and I know I hate it. I mean, just go do something that's going to enhance your lifestyle, enhance what you love the most. It doesn't have to be a long time either 10 minutes is great sometimes.

Yeah, I think 10 minutes. Even if you can do it multiple times a day, it's better than nothing, you know, and learn to not make it a chore, but to enjoy it.

It's important to remember if you do struggle with an eating disorder, that even though it's been your dark passenger for a long time, or maybe it's something you're newly struggling with, maybe something traumatic has happened in your life and it's stemmed this starvation mode you've put yourself in. It's important to remember and to not be ashamed, and to also realize that there's more outside of it and that you can be healthy and that you should aim for longevity instead of beating yourself up, instead of starving yourself, instead of telling yourself, you know, you're not worth anything.

And I know it's easy for me to say on this side, because I know if you're listening to this and you are struggling with it, the anger that you feel when someone tells you to eat or someone tells you to get over it or to just pack all of this up in a box and set it away is brings up a lot of emotion.

Well, this has been awesome to hear your story and to just kind of know, how much the Lord has done in your life? Honestly, because I was there for the journey, and it was very painful to see people you love hurting, but we knew you were gonna work through it and you still are. But it's been a beautiful transformation, and that's what the Lord does. He takes things that are not and speaks them as if they are, and He can turn beauty from ashes and I think that's what he's in the business of doing. It's exciting to be a part of that.

Until next time.


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