I have known Victoria for eight years. When I met her and her precious family, she was in high school. It has been such a joy to see how Victoria has grown into a beautiful, godly woman and I look forward to see how she will grow and develop her passion to help others. I want like to invite you to follow her blog at: www.steelnchiffon.com
Please welcome … Victoria Yates!
It's hard sharing weaknesses with a friend in confidence, let alone a large crowd. But I'm here to tell you that I have learned to embrace my weaknesses! My "mess-ups" are what has helped shape who I am today. My failures have led me to a state of freedom. Like Paul in the bible, I have learned to welcome weakness because my weakness is a visible picture of Christ's power in my life. Without Him, I am powerless, but through Him I have strength!
If you were to ask me what one of my major struggles has been in my life, I'd tell you it's been the fight to be perfect. Perfect in school, perfect for my parents...but mainly, perfect in being healthy. Starting around middle school I grew an interest in learning about the human body and how to take care of it with healthy eating and exercise. This was just an innocent endeavor at first. I knew someday I wanted my career to be in health care and I began researching how to "be healthy". Have you ever done this yourself? Look anywhere on the Internet or in magazines and you'll find everyone's opinion on how to become a healthier you! There's people who say carbs are the problem, to eliminate fat, not to eat meat or to live on green smoothies. Then there's all the rules for exercising like, "You have to exercise at least an hour every day" and "Do this move to eliminate your muffin top", and "You've got to try cross fit!" The media gives so many mixed messages on how to be healthy, and with my discovery, they're wrong about a lot of them! But
I, unfortunately, listened to the media and found myself far from healthy. Yes, I ate all the "right" things and was in top notch condition as a runner, but my body was wasting away, and my mind was in constant bondage. I daily worried about eating anything I believed was unhealthy, and if I did happen to eat one too many cookies one night, the next day was spent making up for my mistake by making sure I burned the extra calories off at the gym. I became anxious if I didn't have a chance to get a hard core run in during the day and took out my anxiety by being angry at the people around me. Looking back, I thought I was being healthy, but I was far from health. I was letting food and exercise and the desire to be perfect control my life. I was missing out on all the good things of this world and chose to live trapped by fear. This was no way to live.
I hate to say, but it took me years to discover that I was harming my body instead of helping it. Through encouragement from friends and godly examples in my life, I realized that it wasn't a perfect body that I desired any more, but instead a healthy mind, body, and spirit! I knew that this would only come if I let go of my fears and trusted my Lord, the creator of my body, that He would guide me in how to best live a wholesome and healthy life. I can tell you, though, that I am still far from living this way. Each day is a struggle unless I start my day in His presence and commit everything about my life to Him. But I'm learning more of how to love my body and eat and work to give it the strength it needs to go about my day.
I've made some changes to the way I aim to live a healthy life that have lead me to feel better, stronger, and more at peace with myself. The main one is I try to start my day in prayer, asking for strength to not let my fears and weakness scare me, but to rely on my Lord for strength. The second is, I try to be mindful when I eat and listen to my body and how I feel while eating and after. When I wasn't feeding myself right, not getting enough good fat and calories in my body, I felt sluggish, shaky, and anxious. Now, I choose to eat to fuel my body and am able to get way more accomplished and feel stronger through the day. The last big thing I've changed is how I exercise. I used to be an avid runner, and yes, I still love to run, but I don't restrict myself with my workout. Again, I listen to my body and how I'm feeling to determine my workout. Everyone is going to have hard and sluggish days, where exercise is a chore. I choose to enjoy every exercise I do and for those more difficult days when I'm tired and not up to a hard core workout, I do something a little more relaxing like Pilates or yoga or ballet barre. Now, too, with working a full time job, I don't always have time for an hour long run, so I do shorter, more intense workouts like HIIT workouts to accommodate my schedule right now. When I do have time to go for a long enjoyable run, I choose to run outside and not on a treadmill where I can enjoy creation and be filled with fresh air. There really is nothing better!
Each day I learn something new and strive to keep learning how to best take care of this body I've been given. Some days are more challenging than others and, by no means have I reached a place of true peace about where I'm at. But I'm loving the journey and happier and more fulfilled than I ever was before. My weaknesses are now viewed as areas to find strength. By striving to live a balanced life with a healthy body, mind, and spirit, then, we can truly find peace with ourselves and live the life God has called us to live.