Zumba Baby!

I’m breaking out of my tightly sealed exercise box! I’ve had enough and I’m breaking out! After seeing some of my friends embark on all sorts of exercise adventures this summer, and actually enjoying it, I knew it was time for my box to go. I’ve been feeling less motivated to get on the elliptical or go for a walk as the days went by, and I knew something had to give.

A few weeks back a friend casually mentioned Zumba. Why didn’t anybody tell me about this before? It seems like everyone on the planet knows about it except me. When I mention it enthusiastically to others, they shrug it off with a “Oh yeah, so-and-so does it” or “Yeah, I do it”.  Now for the few of you out there who are as uninformed as I; it’s a class that combines all kinds of dancing from all over the world with loud music, and it promises to be super duper fun. In fact the slogan at zumba.com reads “Zumba, join the party!”

So I sort of checked it out, and kept procrastinating for a few weeks before I finally mustered up the courage and went to a class. It was very awkward, as all first classes go, but lucky for me we had the most popular, prettiest, fittest, (and I’m sure youngest) instructor that evening, and oh my goodness, was she at her best! I had no idea what I was doing, my body absolutely refused to move in the way she proposed we move our bodies. I looked like a yard stick surrounded by spaghetti bodies. So I did the only thing I could do: I started laughing and I didn’t stop for 60 minutes. I laughed and I sweat and before I knew it the hour was over. I probably needed a good laugh more than I needed exercise, because I couldn’t stop talking about it that evening, and Tony looked on in amusement as I tried to demonstrate some of the moves. Needless to say, I had fun, and I could hardly move the next morning, which meant it actually worked (while I was laughing!) I’m going back for sure and I’m taking some girlfriends with me (they just don’t know it yet:)

Now my point with all this ranting is not to advertise Zumba or even slightly suggest that you may have the same experience. My goal is simply to inspire you again to THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Better yet, pray that God will show you something outside your box. Remember, IT’S NOT ABOUT WEIGHT LOSS. You have to break your back and almost kill yourself to really get weight loss results with exercise. No, it’s SO MUCH MORE! Exercise truly bumps us into that upward cycle that I always talk about. It reminds us that we actually have limbs that can move, and that we’re not nearly as old as we thought we were. In fact, exercise, at any weight, can make you feel less self conscious and more in touch with your body. It gives depression a serious kick in the behind, and it makes you want to take care of your body. Another huge plus point for me is the motivational factor when I find myself surrounded by a group of women. I recognize that others, same age and weight as me, are confident in their own skin JUST THE WAY THEY ARE. It also hugely motivate me to see other ladies twice my age maintaining a healthy body by showing up at that class every week, come rain or sunshine.

Some of my non-athletic friends, who also struggle with food, astonished me when they broke out of their boxes in the past. One friend joined a rowing team and became super fit and toned while LOVING EVERY MINUTE OF IT! Another friend started cycling with her husband, after vowing that she will never do it, and now she is showing him a thing or two. I have a friend who started horse back riding, and another joined a women’s softball team and she’s having the time of her life. All of these ladies have not merely started exercising, they have changed their lives! God has showed them what to do to get them into an upward cycle of living healthy, eating right, having confidence, spending more time with God, and being the best women they can be.

What about you? You are a princess of the King you know. He has good plans for you according to His Word, and there is no reason that you have to live inside a box or keep doing something that you absolutely hate. Let’s be honest about this, if we hate the exercise we set out to do, we’re not going to continue doing it. This totally defeat the purpose, because as you and I both know, in our struggle with food CONSISTENCY IS EVERYTHING.

So what can you do consistently, that you can also enjoy? I don’t have the answer to that, and maybe you don’t even know right now, but God has a storeroom jam-packed with ideas that will fit you like a glove. Why not ask Him?

We were made to move ladies. According to the Bible exercise is of some use, not as important as taking care of our spiritual well-being mind you, but it is still an important part of our allover make-up. In fact, it can be instrumental in helping us take back our physical, emotional, and spiritual health.

Please tell us how you are breaking out of your own exercise box these days. You never know how God can use your testimony to help another lady break out of her box, and as a result start spiraling upward out of her struggle with food.

Love you ladies, and hope to see some of you at Zumba:)
Heleen

 

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EXERCISE: Sacrifice of Praise!

We are a group of more than 30 ladies walking out a 12 week journey on the forum. It’s not too late to join in or just read along. Here is a link to the Members Forum.
If you are not a member you might be interested to click here for my FREE EBOOK: “God will I ever be free?”
Click here if you want more information on becoming a member: 12 Week Online Program for women who struggle with eating disorders and food addiction

This week (Week 5) we’re talking about Exercise. Here’s a re-post that deals with one of the most important issues surrounding exercise – WE HAVE TO EXERCISE FOR HEALTH – NOT WEIGHT LOSS!


I know exercise might not be your favorite topic, it’s not mine either, but let’s face it: Spring is in the air and our bodies are itching to get moving, even if our minds are still glued to the couch!

My battle in this area is no secret, so fortunately I don’t have to pretend with you ladies. For many, many moons exercise in my book meant only one thing: TORTURE!

Every time I started using exercise to get rid of some unwanted rolls around my mid section, I found myself despising it with a passion. I would get up in the morning and mumble to myself “This is just not natural, nobody does this, I must be crazy…” Weekends were even worse… who would want to “spoil” a weekend with exercise?

WHEN YOU EXERCISE TO LOSE WEIGHT:

1. You might use exercise as a dangerous method to “purge” after a binge

2. It might become part of your “diet-routine”, so you only do it when you’ve gained weight but you never seem to keep it up.

HOWEVER, IF YOU EXERCISE FOR YOUR HEALTH THINGS CAN CHANGE RAPIDLY!

Come on…change with me…let’s do it to have more energy, feel healthier, have more confidence, enjoy our kids, dance with our husbands, have glowing skin and shiny hair!

Their are so many benefits to exercise. One of it is weight loss, but don’t let it be the reason you do it girl, IT IS NOT A LASTING INCENTIVE!

Think outside the box. Why settle for the ordinary? If you dig a little deeper you might find a tennis player, a swimmer, a runner, or a salsa dancer hiding in your heart.

Do it for the glory of God! Let it be your sacrifice of praise!

Moving for Christ!
Heleen


Anybody for Some Dancing?

I know exercise might not be your favorite topic, it’s not mine either, but let’s face it: Spring is in the air and our bodies are itching to get moving, even if our minds are still glued to the couch!

My battle in this area is no secret, so fortunately I don’t have to pretend with  you ladies. For many, many moons exercise in my book meant only one thing: TORTURE!

Every time I started using exercise to get rid of some unwanted rolls around my mid section, I found myself  despising it with a passion. I would get up in the morning and mumble to myself “This is just not natural, nobody does this, I must be crazy…” Weekends were even worse… who would want to “spoil” a weekend with exercise?

WHEN YOU EXERCISE TO LOSE WEIGHT:

1. You might use exercise as a dangerous method to “purge” after a binge

2. It might become part of your “diet-routine”, so you only do it when you’ve gained weight but you never seem to keep it up.

HOWEVER, IF YOU EXERCISE FOR YOUR HEALTH THINGS CAN CHANGE RAPIDLY!

Come on…change with me…let’s do it to have more energy, feel healthier, have more confidence, enjoy our kids, dance with our husbands, have glowing skin and shiny hair!

Their are so many benefits to exercise. One of it is weight loss, but don’t let it be the reason you do it girl, IT IS NOT A LASTING INCENTIVE!

Think outside the box. Why settle for the ordinary? If you dig a little deeper you might find a tennis player, a swimmer, a runner, or a salsa dancer hiding in your heart.

Do it for the glory of God! Let it be your sacrifice of praise!

Moving for Christ!
Heleen

PS: Why are you ladies always so quiet when I talk about exercise? Pray tell what you are doing, or I will be convinced that I’m the only one who crawls out of  bed in the morning to get to the gym, and feel sorry for myself…:)

Bring God into the Gym!

capture12 (2)How are you doing with exercise this time of year?
It’s brutal, I know! It’s cold, there’s shopping to be done, and exercise is probably the last thing on your mind.

A word of warning though: It might not be such a good idea to abandon your sneakers all together this time of year. Even if you just get moving a few times over the month of December, it’s MUCH BETTER THAN STOPPING! To start all over again is difficult, and I can guarantee you that January will be a much easier month, with less guilt, depression, and anxiety if you just keep moving a little now.

Resist those thoughts of “Oh it’s not worth it! I only got to go once this week. What difference does it make? I’ll try again next month.”

Most Importantly: Don’t keep God out of it! Invite Him to help you. Most ladies with food struggles have a really hard time to exercise consistently. So be encouraged that you’re NOT alone in this. Lots of other ladies are resisting the temptation to just sit in front of the  TV and eat this very minute. God made our bodies to move in order for it  to function at peak physical, spiritual and emotional levels. Exercise helps with everything! It curbs cravings, depression and low self esteem to only mention a few.

So when you talk to God,  don’t forget to mention exercise. Ask Him to help you connect with your body again. Ask Him what you can do to get active. Ask Him how, when, and where. You will be surprised how practical our God is. He knows you. He knows about all your excuses, and more importantly, He knows how to help you bust those excuses so that you can get healthy. You need an exercise for the long haul, not one you can use only as a temporary solution.

Here’s a few suggestions of how to bring God into this area of your life:

  • Drag your stationary bike over to the TV and watch a praise and worship DVD while you exercise
  • Why not peddle that bike while Beth or Joyce is on TV early in the morning ? (talk about a double blessing:)
  • Make exercise-time your prayer-time! Prayer is the one thing you can do anywhere!
  • Take your note cards for a hike and read the Word out loud while you walk, it can turn into a praise and worship session for sure!
  • Put that ipod/iphone on your Christmas list and listen to worship music or audio books at the gym (how about listening to one of your favorite Bible teachers?)

You know it my friend: EVERYTHING WE SURRENDER TO GOD BECOMES SO MUCH BETTER AND SO MUCH EASIER.
So why not surrender your physical wellness as well?

Please share your favorite “God-Exercise-Combo” with us on here or on the Forum!

Loving God and Life!

Heleen

Who said Exercise would be Easy?

couple joggingNowhere else do I get so much resistance! I’m serious! When it comes to exercise, I have to fight the enemy off with a stick. Of course it confirms that it’s REALLY IMPORTANT, but knowing this doesn’t exactly help with the fact that it’s really difficult !

Yesterday, on labor day, I had one of those famous fights with my own flesh, my family, the enemy, and of course; negative thoughts.

I slept in a little because it was a holiday, I wanted to eat pancakes, because it was a holiday and I didn’t want to exercise, you know it…because it was a holiday.

On top of that, my husband didn’t want to watch the little kids so I could go to the gym, because it was a holiday, and nobody wanted to give me a hand with the laundry, because it was a holiday… GOOD TIMES!

Now on holidays or special occasions these things merely come under the spotlight, but truth be told; it’s a daily battle. Every morning, from the moment I commit to exercise, the enemy will try every trick in the book, and use all the people I know to block me. Seriously; my family, my friends, and even acquaintances! If this doesn’t work he will throw in finances, crisis, sickness, weather, celebrations, discouragement, the list goes on…

The worst part: I don’t even need all of the above excuses to take off my sneakers and quit. No, most mornings I already have a fight going on in my head, and just a little push can make me quit on the spot.

Maybe you don’t have such a big battle when it comes to exercise, but I tell you, as soon as I open my eyes in the morning, I know that I DO NOT WANT TO EXERCISE! Even in my car on the way to the gym I have to grip the steering wheel very tightly, and focus on not turning left to Safeway instead. Even once I’m on that treadmill or bicycle I’m still telling myself that I don’t need to do more than 10 minutes today because I can go for a walk with the kids later (knowing very well that it’s going to rain). I’m not kidding, even after 35 minutes of sweating on the elliptic machine, I will still try and talk myself out of the last five minutes!

Now don’t give up on me just yet:  I know that it’s a mind thing, because I NEVER regret the exercise afterward, but I ALWAYS regret it if I don’t go!!

Also, even though I have gone through the whole spectrum of figuring out which exercise I enjoy the most, what time of day is the best for me, and how I can work my exercise time around most of my family’s emergencies and needs, I still have the negative thoughts.

This is proof to me that there’s a very real battle going on every time I try to be consistent in this area. The reason: Consistent exercise and time with God  plays a HUGE ROLE in overcoming food struggles and staying free!

So PLEASE don’t give up when spending time with God becomes challenging or exercise seems excruciating. It’s only so very difficult, because it’s so very important. The good news: In James 4:7 the Bible says that if we surrender to God and resist the enemy He WILL FLEE FROM US. He will of course not give up the first time you surrender, but if you keep surrendering and keep resisting, I will promise you that he will back off. It will get easier to just sit down with your Bible, or lace up those running shoes.

Of course there will be other temptations and attacks on your freedom, but every time you flex that “resistance-muscle” you will grow stronger and it will grow easier (both physical and spiritual actually:)

Come on girl, fight the battle with me, it is so worth it. Next time you don’t feel like getting up to go to the gym, or resist getting on that treadmill in the basement, or want to give up when the kids interrupt your exercise video, or think it’s too cold to go for a run, or want to call your friend to cancel your afternoon game of tennis, remember that you are most definitely NOT ALONE. In that very moment when you are having that fight with your flesh, the enemy, and people, know for sure that other ladies are fighting off the same stuff, and you too CAN BE VICTORIOUS.

I will be thinking of you next time I fight for my freedom. Please remember to shoot up a little prayer for me as well:)

Love you ladies!
Heleen

Just Show up!

Last week things were pretty crazy at the Woest home to say the least! Not only did we launch my ebook (finally) but Tony and I also transferred the Membership Area to a better program with much more bells and whistles (all for you ladies:)

We switched everything at about 10 pm on Thursday night, and what was suppose to be a “wow!” moment turned out to be a bit of a nightmare. Nothing worked! The ladies here in the US were sound asleep and unaware of the fact that they could not access ANYTHING, but around the world some of you ladies were waking up, and I was freaking out! It felt like being back in math class: I had to go through a long equation to figure out where I’ve made a mistake that brought me to the wrong answer!

Fortunately we got it all figured out (as you’ve probably noticed) but not until 3am Friday morning!

After a week of late nights I was beyond the point of exhaustion when my little girl woke me the next morning at 6am with a “Mommy, I need breakfast!”

Now if this is not the perfect excuse to not show up for exercise, and not spend time with God I don’t know what is! My dilemma though: I’ve made a commitment to show up, no matter what!

So of course I did the right thing…NOT!!

Sorry to disappoint you, but this girl is very much flesh and blood and I caved! I stayed home, watched Dora the Explorer with Christie and ate toast and jam. I didn’t feel to bad though. It was just one day, I deserved it, I worked so hard…

One tiny problem: Saturday morning came and I felt the same way… I now had other excuses…

I was still tired plus I had a headache. This time however, the Holy Spirit wouldn’t let me off the hook: I was reminded that I promised to show up! So I “showed-up”  but with the attitude of a rebellious teenager and the face of a stubborn two year old. I was mad and felt very, very sorry for myself.

I know you’re waiting for this story to turn the corner, but not quite.

I was half walking, half hanging onto the treadmill, trying my best not to fall off. My time with God afterward didn’t go any better. I was laying on the couch, half asleep. I couldn’t focus on anything! I was thinking to myself “Well this is just a bunch of baloney, who am I kidding, I’m wasting my time!”

The rest of the weekend had the same rhythm to it: Me showing up; no fireworks, no revelations, no calories burned, nothing…

Only this morning did energy and hope return to my life and while I was lacing up my running shoes I remembered… there was a reason why I just had to show up! It was not because I didn’t deserve the rest, or because the exercise would magically revive me, or because I was about to get some great revelation. No, it was all about showing up  to keep the momentum going (never mind how pathetic the effort)

Of course this happened before. I would go to the gym, just because I promised God and myself that I would, even though I barely did anything. Other times I would lay on my face before God, or stare at my Bible, feeling nothings, hearing nothing and wondering what exactly I was waiting for. But there is a lesson and a test in all of this. The Bible says that we will only reap a harvest if we do not give up! (Gal 6:9)

I can promise you that if you keep showing up at that gym or tennis court or wherever it is that you go, come rain or sunshine, sickness or health, PMS or not, you will eventually want to do more. One day you might just decide “I can lift that weight” or you might look at the older and rounder bodies around you who are jogging their hearts out and decide “I can do that”

If you keep showing up in God’s presence the same will happen. The Bible that’s now just lying open in your lap might one day come alive before your very eyes, reaching into your heart and bring healing to those very broken places. If you keep laying on that carpet morning after morning, surrendering your life to Him, you might just see Him take the wheel of your life in the most amazing way. Even better yet, you might just see His face, and never be the same again!

Just show up, dear sister. Always expect a miracle, but please don’t give up if it doesn’t happen on your time table. We don’t see the whole picture, but if we just keep showing up, God will show us His glory and change us (2 Cor 3:18)

Don’t believe the enemy when he tells you that your efforts to get active are pathetic, or you can’t feel God anyway, or the Bible is boring. Refuse to listen to him!

Let my words ring in your ears “Just show up… just show up…just show up” (Think Dori in Finding Nemo “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming…)

If you have been showing up for a while, it might be time to step up though. Listen to what God wants to do. It might be time for a new Bible study, or you might be ready to read a book on exercise that can get you moving or help you spice up your workout (See my Suggested Reading List)

Never mind where you’re at though, the moment you stop showing up, trouble is knocking at your door. The good news: You can start showing up again today!

I’m sure you have funny stories to tell about “just showing up” yourselves. Let’s hear some of them!

Oh and thanks so much for all your prayers last week, God is doing a good thing!

Lots of love,
Heleen

Sluggish Metabolism? Pump some Iron Baby!

Weight training
Do you tend to ignore the whole weight-lifting-for-women-thing? Why? Are you afraid that you might bulk-up? Maybe you’re just using it as an excuse as I did. I’m ashamed to say that I was terrified of the pain involved! So there you have it, I’m a bit of a sissy.

However, I knew in the back of my mind that I should probably try and lift more than the 5 pound weight I have been lifting, oh so diligently (once a week), for the past ten years…hmmm…

I was inspired to do more through a friend’s blog. I’ve told you girls about her before, her name is Sandy Cooper and she wrote an excellent post on Friday about this very topic (must confess, I feel a little like a copycat:) You will find the post, 14 Reasons to Lift Weights on her blog, God Speaks Today, and it is just jam-packed with information about the benefits of training with weights. Please go check it out!

So, to get back to my point: About six months ago I was doing cardio consistently, but not so much anything beyond that. Then under the inspiration of Sandy I set out to read Body for Life by Bill Phillips. It’s a great book and gave me the push I needed to start pumping some iron myself.

I wrote an article Weight Training is for Women too back then when I just started and this  is a quote from that article: “My posse of treadmill walkers looked at me funny. The men with the big arms looked at me with suspicion, but the few strong ladies around gave me “the nod”. You know which nod I’m talking about, the one that says: “You go girl!”

So where am I now with all of this?
Well, cardio, healthy eating and taking care of my spiritual and emotional well being helped me to loose weight in the past, but I have to say that my metabolism only picked up it’s pace the day I strapped on those funny gloves, loaded up those weights beyond a familiar number and surprised myself.

Did it hurt? You betcha!

Was it worth it? Seriously, it was worth all the sweat, pain and tears!

How do I know my metabolism is faster though?
Well, I can tell that things are working as they should again by the fact that I don’t immediately gain 5 pounds from eating 5 cookies. In fact even if I have a lousy day food wise, I don’t gain any weight (if I just get on track the next day of course). This was not true for me in the past. After years of  starving, binging, purging and following all kinds of diets, my metabolism was sluggish, to say the least. It would take me months to shed only a few pounds, and then I could pick those few pounds up in a matter of days! It was so frustrating and discouraging.

Weight training also brought some other benefits to my life:
I have more energy and I discovered that my arms actually don’t have to wiggle and jiggle like they used to. Those jiggly arms used to be a  great source of amusements and entertainment to the men in my life! However, this summer I’ve  showed them:) I even ventured out and bought some T-shirts!

Seriously, the weight training also improved my endurance during cardio, playing with the kids and… well… lets just say it has benefit my marriage in unexpected ways:)

Something else I got from reading Body for Life: I was inspired to do cardio for 3 days a week and weight training for  the other 3 days. This was huge for me! I was a sound believer in cardio 5 times a week (at least). However, it was really hard to stay consistent. It was just such a huge undertaking, hitting the treadmill 5 times a week!

So, taking a break and doing it every other day has been a big mental motivator. I do weights on my “tired” days, such as Mondays, and schedule cardio for the days that I’m bound to not be so exhausted. It has worked for six months now and it has made exercise so much easier and more enjoyable.

So I’m extending the challenge to you: How about giving it a try? Go get that book at the library, and go read Sandy’s blog. It will inspire you for sure and you might just be joining me in testifying about: “The wonder of having a metabolism that actually works again!”

If I could do it, I promise that you can do it too girl.

This was something way”unnatural” for me, but it gave me a huge shove towards victory.

Go pump some iron, baby!

Love
Heleen

5am: The Hour of Horror!

You can probably tell from the title that I started getting up at 5 am. It’s terrible! It’s dark and gloomy and everybody is still asleep and I feel so sorry for myself.

I started doing this for the last couple of weeks because I have had sick kids and there is no way I can get to the gym or have some alone time with God when I have to tend to the poor little sick ones. So I chose to get up before the crack of dawn and get it done.

Of course Mondays are the worst. This morning I dragged my sorry bones out of bed and felt waves of self pity sweep over me. I was convinced that I have invented some form of self torture, and just like every other morning during the last two weeks I couldn’t help but wonder “How is this worth it?” While pulling on my sweats I started making plans to get out of this hour of horror. I would go through every excuse and every alternative in my mind.

You would think that once I reach the car I would feel much better and my mood would change, but no such luck. Ice on the windows and a sleepy neighborhood is not exactly the best mood lifter. So I shiver all the way to the gym, and lo and behold what do I find: Lots of people, awake at this terrible hour, walking, sweating and running like you won’t believe. At that point the self pity started to vanish a bit. If I want to look good, feel good and have a good day, I guess there is a price. So I gave the receptionist a weak little smile and started walking the treadmill, armed with my scripture cards, ready to give the enemy a kick in the head.
Half way through my routine all thoughts of hating exercise and quitting left my mind. I felt good, I was going to be okay, life is not that bad after all.

And when I left there at 6:30, what do you know, the sun was up and the world looked beautiful. I felt God’s touch in the early morning breeze.
The best part for me: Exercise is behind me and I’ve put my spiritual armor on at the same time. I don’t have to worry about that for the rest of the day. This day sure looks promising…