I’ve told you about my precious friend Patty Scott, whom I met in a creative-writing group on Facebook last year. We’ve never met in person, but we have communicated many times through private messages, a Zoom chat, text messages, comments on each others’ blogs and social media and any other way we could think of! (She lives in my native state, California, and one of these days we’re going to meet up. I know it will happen – we just haven’t figure out when or how. 🙂 )
I can tell you for certain that Patty’s primary spiritual gift is ENCOURAGEMENT. If I had to pay a counselor for the many times she has lifted me up with her wise, non-judgy and timely words, I would be bankrupt.
In September 2018, Patty published her second book, Slow Down, Mama: Intentional Living in a Hurried World. Through the end of October 2018, Patty’s giving away a copy of the book every Friday on her blog, so hurry on over if you’d like to be entered to win. Or if you just want to support Patty by buying a copy, you can visit her Amazon link.
When I asked Patty to write a guest post for To Well With You, I thought she was going to write something related to the new book. I think that’s what she thought, too, but this post came pouring out of her as the Lord gave her the words and the topic.
So let her minister to you by discussing a painful time in her past that has made her stronger and allows her to speak wisdom and truth to others.
P.S. When Patty mentions Texas, keep in mind she’s hasn’t visited us in Arkansas, so we’ll let her off the “hook” as she waxes poetic for a moment about the Longhorn state. 🙂
It’s absolutely never too late to get back up and soar
By Patty H. Scott
I bet you and I have a lot in common – unless you are a seasoned triathlete. My lifelong dance with self-care and self-discipline has found me sitting out a few numbers, catching my breath, then starting up – again. And again. And again. I haven’t always been consistent in prioritizing my own health or caring for my diet and exercise needs. When I was younger, I lived a typically active childhood, running in the grass, climbing trees and using my pogo stick for transportation. My mother had an obsession with all things organic and healthy. We didn’t have an ounce of sugar or any preservatives in our home. No joke.
While my upbringing taught me what a healthy diet could be, I felt caged in by the restrictions. Anytime an opportunity to eat something sweet came my way, I indulged. Through my teen years, I endured several traumatic events. This led to my developing an eating disorder. I starved myself and tried to eat less than 500 calories a week. A week! I would tell my mom I had eaten at a friend’s home, or would pick at supper and then secretly scrape my plate into the trash. I over-exercised to burn calories. My obsession with skinniness was an attempt to control something about myself when everything around me felt so very out-of-control.
In my young adulthood, I healed from anorexia. Later I swung the other way and started emotional eating – using food to comfort myself, to cope with loneliness or to quell boredom. Food was my security blanket. I forgot how much I loved to move and exercise simply for the joy of it.
One year, after I had dated my boyfriend (now my husband) for a few years and had put on more than 70 pounds over the course of three years, I asked him, “Do you like me better when I am thin?”
In his gracious and thoughtful way, he answered me with words that changed my life forever. He said, “I love you no matter what. I didn’t start dating you for your looks. Of course I find you more attractive when you are thinner, but I think you are attractive no matter what you weigh, and I am staying with you.”
That message – that I was loved, and yet that it would be better for me and him if I were at a healthier weight – moved me into action.
I started attending Weight Watchers and doing all the things they teach – eating proper portions, exercising consistently and drinking enough water. Over a year, I lost 52 pounds. I also regained my self-esteem and a sense of myself as a person. Food no longer held me as a captive.
Over the following years, I have gained weight during pregnancies, the usual 2-3 pounds over the holiday months of November and December and a bit of padding around my tummy when we have gone on vacation. I have never regained that 52 pounds.
My heart attitude toward self-care changed, as well. I have learned that the essence of caring for others comes from our own capacity to receive care. We must be filled to pour out. Our own well-being makes it possible to give to others. When we aren’t well, we have to slow down and pull back. We don’t have reserves from which we can bless.
As I have shifted in the way I see self-care, I have been more gracious toward myself. I don’t demand my exercise and compliance to dietary guidelines, like some inner Army sergeant. I have learned to approach myself with grace and love. It is called “self-care” for a reason. Bullying has no place in our approach to ourselves.
Earlier this year, my husband and I agreed to invest in a personal trainer for me. I have been wanting to take my fitness to another level. I knew I needed the accountability, instruction and support to do this well. My trainer gives me a weekly regimen. He and I meet once a week so he can beat me up lead me through a workout. I started eating a “no white” diet (avoiding processed sugar and white starch). I lost a few unwanted pounds and feel great.
Then came my trip to Texas. In July, I went to visit one of my oldest and dearest friends who lives in Houston. Everything is bigger in Texas – including me! I ate freely on that trip. I think It’s a prerequisite for Texans to say, “Y’all want some pah?” Yes, ma’am, why yes, I do. The pie was beyond worth every bite. Still, I came home feeling the results of my foray off my diet and exercise routine.
Shortly after my trip, I started subtly sending myself shaming messages.
“You blew it.” “You aren’t ever going to stick with any exercise or diet routine.” “You are fat.” These are things I would never say to an enemy, let alone a friend, yet I was silently whispering them to myself all day long.
Despite a growing feeling of discouragement, I got back to the gym. I wanted to hide out from my trainer, but I showed up. I went on my Monday walks with my friend, attended my regular Friday Zumba class and cut back on some of the sweets and bread. Bit by bit, I started back into action.
As I resumed the routine I know works well for me, I realized some deep truths. I may have a lifetime of falling off wagons. I may choose to take breaks from healthy habits in order to enjoy a vacation with friends. As long as there is breath in my body, I can always, always get back on track. The results I want to see will come with resilience, courage and simple actions. My break from exercise and diet taught me to extend myself grace. Self-care means treating ourselves with love and gentleness above all else.
What are you going to take away from Patty’s post today? In the comments, list one thing you’ll do to be kind to yourself today. Commit to it, girl!
I’ll go first: Gonna hang out and watch a Hallmark movie with Mom today (instead of obsessing about needs to be done at home).
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8 Tips for Saying No Graciously