In 1997, I was diagnosed with Hypothyroidism. After having two miscarriages the doctors figured out something must be not quite right in my body and began running tests. It was determined that I had an underactive metabolism (Hypothyroidism) and hormone deficiencies. I was pretty naïve about the disease. I was just told to take some medication and that it would all be fine. No one would ever need to know that I had this condition. It is a silent disease that affects millions of people. It isn’t that outwardly noticeable except that you can see remnants of its effects – struggles to maintain weight, thinning hair, brittle nails, depression, lack of energy, brain fog & the list goes on. My plan was to overcome all of the side effects of this disease and not tell a soul. Little did I know back then, how much this diagnosis would wreck havoc on my body. It has changed my life and humbled me beyond what I like to admit. It’s not something that defines me, but it has become part of my story, so hang in there with me, it may not be all that Inspiring, but the story’s not over yet.
Since my diagnosis, I have gained and lost 20-30 pounds at least three times that I can count. I have tried everything under the sun… I have worked out, counted calories, and tracked my steps and my sleep, but so far, every time the weight has come back on to my body. You might claim that it’s all in my head that I just don’t have enough will power, that I am not thinking positive thoughts, or that I am a slacker who just doesn’t care anymore, but this is just not the truth. Sure I’m not perfect and I have been discouraged at times, but I truly want to be healthy again, to work hard at something, achieve it, maintain it, and not have to focus on it all the time.
This health and fitness thing has been a trickier endeavor for me than I had anticipated. Quite honestly, I never expected this challenge. It came out of left field. I really didn’t think it would become such an issue because I tend to be a goal setting, attack the problem and fix it kind of girl. As I have had time to reflect on this experience, I believe God is using this situation to teach me to rely on Him. My challenges in this area have prompted me to ask questions in an effort to seek answers. Through this process of openly sharing my struggles with others, there has become somewhat of a sisterhood in the matter. As I’ve talked with other women along the way, I have learned that they too, have had their battles to fight in this department. None of us goes totally unscathed. We will all face challenges with our bodies at one time or another, whether it’s a weight challenge, cancer diagnosis, Parkinson’s, ALS, Lupus, or <insert your health challenge>. Because I have chosen to talk about it, God has brought more and more women into my life that are in the same boat or at least in a similar struggle. Our stories my not seem very inspiring, but how we choose to respond to our health challenges is. I have met determined women, positive women, strong and courageous women, and never give up and try your best women! Their bodies may be outwardly wasting away, but their souls are healthy and strong! These women are INSPIRING to me!
Over time God has given me this little idea to encouraging one another with our health and fitness goals or challenges. Not necessarily in the way that society wants us to focus by having to look totally perfect on the outside, but in the way that God wants us to pursue. I think that sometimes we can make this area of our life an idol. An idol is anything that we pursue more that we pursue God. This isn’t what I am praying this Inspiring Hope for Health Group would be about, but could it be that God wants us to pray for one another, encourage one another, share ideas with one another, and collaborate on what is helping with one another. We could share recipes, fitness tips, and even get moving together as a group whether it’s participating in a 5K Run/Walk or a Bike Race, maybe it’s taking a hike, or working out together. Who knows where God may take our little Group. I wanted you to know that we will be forming a team to do just this, so if you are interested, please let me know. I am determined to walk forward in faith, continuing to turn every stone that God places in my path to do what I can do to stay healthy and fit, both physically and spiritually! Won’t you consider joining me in this endeavor? Who’s in with me on this one?