Victoria Benson is a dear friend and mentor of mine who I’ve asked to share a little of her health journe over the last year. Victoria is a beautiful woman inside and out and has always had an encouraging word to share with me over the years. She, like all of us, is discovering more of what it means to live a healthy life in all areas and I’m so grateful for her vulnerability in sharing her story! I hope you guys can relate as much as I could!
This is my testimony of my healthy journey over a couple months. Your experience and results may vary!
A couple months ago I was looking back at pictures from last Christmas and it honestly made me depressed. I was the most I had ever weighed, I had a lot of really hard, personal things going on in my life, I had just quit my job, and I honestly felt really unconfident. While some people don’t eat when life gets hard, I tend to overeat thanks to my momma’s genes. And overeat I did. I didn’t prioritize a healthy diet or exercise. I prioritized fatty foods and sitting on the couch. I no longer weighed 110 pounds like in college. I could no longer eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted.
Along with the help of friends and family, over the past couple months I have decided to take control of my life. I am now a believer that when your body is healthy you are able to have a clearer, healthier mind. I didn’t want to look at myself in pictures this Christmas and think, “dang, I really lost myself.” So I started making little changes in the way I ate and exercised. And honestly, without even realizing it, the pounds started coming off and I felt more like myself. More empowered. More in-control of my reactions and feelings. More able and willing to process the hard stuff. More connected with the Lord. He taught me discipline. And that discipline is a GOOD thing. He taught me to rely on Him instead of food. And that changed everything.
Trust God from the bottom of your heart;
don’t try to figure out everything on your own.
Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go;
he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Don’t assume that you know it all.
Run to God! Run from evil!
Your body will glow with health,
your very bones will vibrate with life!
Honor God with everything you own;
give him the first and the best.
Proverbs 3:5-6 The Message (MSG)
Here are just a few practical ways I stepped from unhealthy indulgence to a more conscious and healthy lifestyle. Some are super easy, some a little harder. But I found that changing the way I lived a little bit at a time truly added up.
1. Healthy substitutions: I’m the girl that will NEVER drink black coffee. I just can’t. Tried it. And I can’t do it. So I started substituting my coffee creamer for almond creamer and my Stevia for honey/agave. Opting for purer ingredients was honestly the first and easiest step. Here are some other easy substitutions that will help cut calories but still taste great!
· Liquids are everything. But I’d rather EAT my calories.
o Cut out juices in smoothies and adding water or almond milk instead
o Getting a cold brew coffee at Starbucks instead of a caramel macchiato.
o Drink LOTS of water. Sounds simple but it’s SO important. Add some lemon for taste!
o Healthy snacks! Fruit is always a great option, almond butter, handful of granola, etc.
2. MyFitnessPal App: Some people will say that counting calories isn’t smart, but I beg to differ. When you’re trying to lose those extra pounds it makes all the difference. SEEING and logging what I ate made a HUGE difference. This app is genius. You can put in your goal weight and it logs what you eat and how much you exercise. It’s full-proof, really.
3. Accountability: I have two sweet friends who I check-in with over a text group. We encourage each other and spur each other on. If you’re trying to reach a goal it’s always better to do it with others who can relate.
4. Exercise: Cardio was huge for me. My health journey kicked off with the goal of running a half-marathon. It all starts in your mind. If you believe you can do it, you can! Here’s what a typical day at the gym looks like for me but it varies. Sometimes I’ll do workout classes; sometimes I’ll do a quick 20-minute workout. It’s just important to get moving!
· 30 min running
· 20 min elliptical
· 10 min weights
5. Portion Control: Oh dear, this was a game-changer for me. I grew up in a family that didn’t exercise this AT ALL. We were encouraged to eat fast so our food didn’t get cold and we ate until we were stuffed, often saying the words “I feel sick.” It was a process for me to accept that feeling “satisfied” was just enough. Using a smaller plate is a great way to portion control!
6. Night Munchies: Oh man, this was probably the hardest thing for me to cut out. I’m definitely a night munchies girl. I love a good bowl of ice cream or handful of chips at night. Now, I replace that craving with a cup of tea and honey or a couple morsels of dark chocolate.
So whether you are trying to be a healthier you mentally, physically, or spiritually, I will tell you this- YOU CAN DO IT! And if you need an accountability partner, hit me up!
Thanks Victoria! So encouraged by your words and I know everyone who reads this will be as well! What I love about your testimony here is that you understand that living a healthy life is all about being disciplined and how discipline is good. I think we can all take something from that!
Have a great week everyone and my prayer for you this week is that you’ll remember that we are all imperfect, we all make mistakes whether that be in our jobs, with our loved ones, and with our health. BUUUTTT… we have the ability to be disciplined. Everything we do is a conscious decision. Let’s choose to live healthily in all areas!
Victoria Benson has her own blog where she gives encouragement in life and health… check her out at VictoriaKBenson!