The Simple Life

Account for Everything


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Growing always has to be in tandem with standards or at least guidelines and that is something we all walk away from one way or the other. I remember school and how we had to do things at certain times, in certain ways, with certain responses. It was a demand to be obedient, responsible and responsive. There were no exceptions to the rules without repercussions; and the repercussions were not easy.

I always thought I didn’t have challenges about accountability and keeping the rules but this process has brought out another side. It has been interesting because I didn’t know this side and so I struggled a bit. The move to be accountable was a choice I made but oh my…it was hard.

So many things were hard about being accountable.

First, someone else could ask questions about my progress. They could question my tactics, consistency, my food choices my weight. They could say I wasn’t applying myself or I was slacking off. They could challenge the intensity of my workout.

Second, there was no room for excuses. I couldn’t say I didn’t feel like working out or eating well. I couldn’t decide I just dint feel like something. I couldn’t say it was tiring. Oh, I could but the common response would be why? What made it so hard to do it today? How do we deal with the challenge?

Third, I saw myself clearly. Up until this moment, I had convinced myself that I was where I was because of the circumstances around me. I was sure I had done all I needed to do and life was just being unfair on me. I was certain that I had no regrets…until I begun this process and found I wasn’t pushing myself. I was doing very little thinking it was all I could do. All my weaknesses were on display for me to see and I didn’t want to look at or even acknowledge them.

Fourth, I was forced to take responsibility and change. No longer could I say I couldn’t do anything about things and that process entailed effort that I didn’t really want to expend at first but realized it was a choice I had made.

Fifth, I had to learn to trust others. I didn’t even know that I didn’t trust people to want the best for me. The demand to be accountable helped me realise just how I struggled to believe that people did anything just to help me. I was so used to being the one helping but I didn’t even want to need the support of others because I didn’t know if it was for my good or just to make themselves more prominent. Talk about a warped view that had to die.

The unravelling of my personal opinion of myself was the real reason I had challenges with accountability. It laid me bare, it clarified my vision of myself and forced me to be honest in a way I didn’t realise I hadn’t been.

  • What are you looking at that you don’t like about your life?
  • What do you need to deal with decisively or else you won’t move forward?
  • What do you need to accept as who you currently are and then choose an alternative path to follow?

Change is within your reach you; Reach out and succeed.

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The Simple Life

Start, However Small the Step


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Some days were harder than others and some meals more difficult to eat but there had to be consistency. I remember complaining and being reminded that these were my goals and I needed to get my act together and just do it. At the time it felt like going through the wringer but it has got easier.

In the last few weeks I have met more than five people who are intrigued by my change and have desired to start the process but haven’t been able to make much progress. This week I chatted with one of them who needs to start but it is a daunting task because the health concerns are major. She needs to start on food and fitness but it feels like an incredibly hard task so I sought to help her.

For a long time she has been sedentary, taken a little sugar but loved starches to the detriment of her waistline and weight. I totally understand her dilemma but from a different perspective. It is possible to think we are eating a balanced diet yet the combination of the foods we are eating aren’t ideal for us. It is even harder when we go out and rent eating at home.

A dear friend and I had coffee together last week and I was hungry but as I looked through the menu it became abundantly clear that most of our snacks are loaded with starch and so people like myself will have a hard time finding something to eat.

You don’t believe? Let me explain. What are the common Kenyan snacks? Here we go…

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chapati, samosa, mandazi, meat pie, cinnamon roll, sandwich, arrow roots, sweet potatoes, chips, yoghurt and cakes. Sadly they are all starches albeit some more complex than the rest but carbohydrates all the same. What does that leave for those not eating carbohydrates? Next to nothing!

It would have been easy to say that I couldn’t find anything to eat and go on being foolish and ignore God’s direction or I could ask him for direction and guidance what to eat. So as I looked through the menu once more I came across boiled eggs and kachumbari (tomato salsa). That is what I settled for. Why? It is protein and vegetables in the right combination so that I can find the starches I need in the vegetables and not from sugar. It will also allow me to be full for longer and therefore reduce weight.

The next challenge was what to drink. I had already had my fill of coffee; to be exact, three cups, so I wanted something else lighter and more refreshing. What a pleasure to find freshly made passion juice without added sugar. Irony is that many of us can go into a restaurant and easily find something to eat.

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Sometimes staying true to the path you have chosen means you must carry your own food as you go to places unknown. On a recent two day outing I really learnt this. On the first day I didn’t carry anything to eat in the in between times and let’s just say that it was hard to just keep to the plan when I was absolutely hungry. By contrast, the next day I made and carried breakfast for myself and my close people and this meant that we did not put pressure on the hosts rather we could sort out our interesting needs. My key learning is to do whatever little I can to make sure it all works out and we’re all on track.

The thing I learnt afresh was to determine the way forward and stick to it no matter what especially when it comes to food, drinks and exercise. Determine the way and remain steadfast no matter what.

The Simple Life

Help…I’m struggling


There were times when I would falter because I didn’t know what to do and that got me down so I wouldn’t work out. Food was never a challenge because I had been looking out on what to eat for many years I just needed to find the right combination but that is a story for a later date.

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I set a simple goal and chose to follow through.

I set the goal to work out three to five days a week but could barely get beyond a few minutes of workout. I was so unfit that I got really sore and hurt at every turn. I couldn’t do squats or lunges without pain. I couldn’t even do one burpee…still a challenge for me because of the jumping. I could barely do much but the inner drive to do something kept me going. After many unsuccessful attempts at consistency, I chose to do just seven minutes of exercise every day of the week until I gained strength.

Oh boy!!! It was like pulling teeth daily as I repeatedly over stretched muscles and could barely get up or bend for days on end. On one day, I pulled my hamstrings and didn’t stretch them well so the pain was unreal. As usual, it came to check in time the next day and oh my word…

Did you work out today?

Nope! I replied rolling my eyes.

Why?

I hurt my hamstrings so couldn’t do much.

Did you stretch after yesterday’s workout?

Yes but maybe not fully

Let me ask,

Uhu!

Is it pain or soreness in the muscle?

What’s the difference?

Pain is so bad you cannot move and soreness is more like stiffness because of use

Soreness

That too shall pass. I will send you a link to a good stretch.

It was initially hard to understand why Coach was being so relentless because I wanted someone to understand that I was tired. It was as if he had tunnel vision and was always asking about my workout and accountability. Several times, I just wanted to give up but every time I was about to, my goals came to mind.

My goals were often the one thing that would get me going again.

How? Well, when I remembered how much weight I needed to lose, how nimble I wanted to be and how much more energy I wanted, it became the fire I needed in my belly. When I understood that I was on the path to a lifestyle change and not a fad I was able to keep working out as I needed to.

Hands down, even if I disliked it at times, one of the best things I have is accountability. I have Coach, my lil man and my sister keeping me on track and watching me lest I start to falter so they can come alongside and cheer me on. Often I had to ask for help and it came in different ways. It came as kind words from Coach, a harsh rebuke from him, a loving prod from my sister in the form of the right food in the kitchen and celebration from lil man when the digits on the scale went down.

I was glad I did the mad thing and asked for help.

What help you ask?  The help to start the plan, to keep going, to believe it would work, to keep growing in the fullness and realities God has set ahead of me. I had the solid prod from God based on our conversations that brought Coach along. I had the daily bodily challenge that helped me settle into knowing that I would succeed and attain the mark set out for me no matter what.

In time, it has become second nature to do the daily work for God’s honour and glory. Yet He says we aren’t done and this isn’t the only area He is targeting to change. So I press on aware that there is an increase awaiting me ahead that will be borne out of working with God.

Press in with me and attain the mark set up for you!

The Simple Life

You set them; You reach them


A strong why changes things but beyond that lies the need for clear goals.

A goal is an idea of the future or desired result that a person or a group of people envisions, plans and commits to achieve, (Wikipedia). Sound pretty simple yet it is simple and complex all in the same breath. How many of us have goals we have never reached? How many of us have goals that do not endear themselves to us? how many times do we set a goal and never attain it? Why do we lack the drive to reach or work towards our goals and we blame others for our inability?

Coach did something I didn’t like initially, but that became a great source of my success and determination.

He asked me to set my own goals.

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For many people that isn’t a big thing but to me it has been everything. A general goal may not be achieved but in this instance the difference was in the level of detail required and though relatively simple, it demanded lots of focus to do. He even gave a format of sorts as follows:

  • Current weight – target weight
  • Current clothes size – target clothes size
  • Exercise – intensity, frequency, duration
  • Diet – current plan, intended focus, portion size, food combination
  • Desired support structure – how you will report to coach, how often, format, who in your circle could be your accountability partner
  • Duration – how long will this plan go before evaluation and adjustments are done?

Initially, I thought it was too much and asked many questions. Why should I do all that work when I have a coach? Shouldn’t that be his responsibility? I complained and complained and he didn’t budge. In time I wondered what I had got myself into and why I was being so fussy? Why couldn’t I just get myself organised and keep to the plan no matter what? A short while later it all came together and I sent the goals to him.

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The most fascinating part was the reporting structure. I voluntarily offered to send a daily workout and keep a digital food diary. I chose to lay myself bare before someone else, opening up the door for questions and challenges no matter what. I was excited to start changing my life but a few weeks in I began to falter. Even as he noticed, Coach didn’t budge a bit on the follow up. I’d receive messages like:

Hi, I hope you worked out today, please send me the routine.

Or

I don’t see any workout today…did you,

Or

Sweets, sweets, sweets…I see you really like sugar,

Or

When do I see a change in the routine? You have done x or y for long enough to gain strength so increase the intensity or reps for better effects.

I would be so upset and ask why he wouldn’t give me a break only for him to say, ‘I am holding you accountable to your goals. You set them; you reach them.

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It was true…the goals were mine so I needed to accomplish each one and then a little more. I determined to do something every day no matter how little and my goals gave me places to plot the wins with small ones at the start and larger ones in time. Goals helped me to keep going with clarity no matter what and I realised they are a strong lifeline that trigger responses that push us forward.

Every time I think about how I must to work through my goals or I am losing focus and intensity I remember Colossians 3:2 – 4 (NKJV)

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.

I said before that my journey is a result of a conversation with God and I must live up to it because He is faithful and doesn’t fail so neither can I!

The Simple Life

Why again?


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What is so important about a why?

So many things but I will only name a few. It is the fire in your belly. It is like fuel for the flight. It is the rain after a long dry spell. It is the reason you get up at 5am and head to work out. It is the strength to workout after a long day. Bottom line…it is the reason you keep going.

Last week I found it a little challenging to keep going because work was extremely busy and my energy levels weren’t all that yet I found that when I started working out my body would ask for the kind of intensity it is used to. I found that when my mind wanted to give up I would remember that the reason for the journey and was no longer fainthearted.

The funniest was on Sunday when I served my guests chocolate covered doughnuts and posted the picture on my Facebook page. It was tasty and enticing but I only ate half a doughnut and remembered it takes a 6 mile run to burn those calories. One of my young people said that I should be reported to coach. Hahahaaha was all I said was of course I had already told him I’d eaten the doughnut.

Nothing can stand in the way of my why unless I let it

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That is the greater lesson for this season. I learnt that my reason for starting down this path has to be so deeply rooted that I don’t question it or lose heart when the going gets tough. Rather I lean in and press harder and push my body to achieve all that God has set out for me to do. It has become the fire in my belly, the reason I keep going; the strength in my weary hands, tired legs, aching muscles. It can be the same for you.

We all have different why’s and so even if we are walking together to achieve the goals we set, we are on the path for entirely different reasons. I need to lose weight to live in obedience and function at optimum, coach works out regularly to reach a certain strength and lift a certain load as he releases stress and copes with life, Emma wants to lose weight to live longer and raise her children, Joy must lose weight to retain her job…the list is endless.

In the end, the central thing is a strong why!

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So strong and so big that it challenges you all the way. Know that your why will evolve with your process. It will become bigger and stronger as you become bigger and stronger because to remain with a small goal is to remain stuck.

Set a strong why based on a clear word from God and see how He will fuel you.

 

The Simple Life

Starting Strong


Last week I bumped into some friends at a local mall. It was absolutely hilarious. We haven’t seen each other for a few years but he reads this blog faithfully albeit silently. So I am walking from the opticians heading for the supermarket when I see a guy leaning on the wall near the shoe shop look up from his phone, see me, look away, take a second and third look then goes like…

“You!!!!!!”

Okay….who is that and then it hits me and I am like is that Sammy?

“Oh my God!!!! Sammy!!! It’s you!!!”

Then begun a one and a half hour conversation about just about anything with him and his wife who joins us later and one other passing friend and the response was the same…shock and surprise at how much weight I have lost. It also brought some things to light because I am not really thinking about how I look.

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“You need to document this process for people” he said.

“That is what the blog does right?” I replied

“Maybe give a few more detailed ideas on the process from start to where you are today. It will definitely encourage someone.”

It gets me thinking because I had a similar response and challenge in the very same mall, close to the very same spot with a totally different person just two days before this encounter. What are the odds that people are asking the same questions if the answer isn’t needed?

The next morning, Emma, Sammy’s wife, calls me to help her figure out how to get on the path to weight loss and better health and once again I realize the need. So today we will explore the first element.

Know why you are on this path or want to get on the path.

We have all heard people talk about knowing why when it comes to life change and motivation so I won’t belabour the point but you must have a deep personal reason for starting on the health, fitness and weight loss path.

In my case, the conversation began with God a long time ago about my optimum weight which I exceeded for several years. It would have been easy to say I am not over 100kg and there are people bigger than me but in all honesty I felt like I was 100kg yet I was just at 70kg. I looked like the proverbial African woman with a beautiful shape and nice hips but few noticed me struggle to stand for long, walk for long, keep my energy and focus up. No one saw the struggle within.

Every time I asked God for strength to keep going He gave it to me alongside the reminder that I needed to work towards our optimum…yes I said our optimum. Since He knit me together in my mother’s womb and knew me even before that, He also knew the maximum size I needed to be for optimal function and he held me accountable for it. He made a regular demand for me to go that way and I had the choice to align or walk away.

Yes, I had the choice to align or walk away.

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I finally had to make a choice because the fatigue plaguing me was too much and it became the trigger to ask for help one last time clearly intending to do something about it. My why isn’t just about being smaller, it is ‘To become all that God has shown me and operate at optimum.” That may sound amorphous but it is so clear for me because in there is a very clear definition of optimum and targets for weight, fitness and diet…His definition.

I can’t get away from His definition because it has been present for many years and every time I have attained that definition I have actually enjoyed it. I can only determine in my heart to walk the path no matter how challenging it may be. It has allowed me to be driven by a very personal, internal reason that stands the test of dissension or discouragement and gives me the capacity to walk a largely solo path and change that I may encourage others to do the same.

What is your Why? What is your driving reason?

Find it today and you will find the energy and focus to be more than awesome in this day. Let it be grounded on a clear word from God, a promise you can stand on, a calling to fulfil for him, an opportunity to showcase him. Find your WHY in God

Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand. Prov 19:21 ESV

There are many plans in a man’s heart, Nevertheless the Lord’s counsel—that will stand. Prov 19:21 NKJV

The Simple Life

There Aren’t Simple Answers


This morning as I meditated on life it became very clear that we are all here for a finite period and then we ascend to our Father.

As I reflect, God reminded me of a young lady I met over Easter as we ministered in a local girl’s high school. She readily smiled warmly when we walked past each other even though we hadn’t really spoken before that but there was a depth and calmness around her. When the team went on stage it was clear that she loved God and was there to honour Him above all else. Our paths crossed again late May at yet another girl’s high school but this time she was picking up equipment to go and setup elsewhere.

She was calm and warm keenly focused on getting to the next venue to be ready to spend time with others in the presence of God. She was not bothered about the inconvenience it was to come for the equipment, and it could have been viewed as such because it provided a chance to shift something for God.

By all appearances, she was in perfect health and full of energy but less than three weeks later she was resting in her Heavenly Father’s arm. At the onset I was like this is insane! Then God began to open my understanding as people in the team began to share about her. She was a pillar, reliable, accountable, faithful, committed and loved by many. She was in the prime of her life, ready to conquer the world, stepping out boldly into the market but in a blink, she was gone.

Then my Father reminded me that despite all the things those around felt, in His scheme, she had run her race and finished the assignment and we who were still here needed to do the same. It was imperative that I looked at life through His eyes and not through the lens of my understanding. He had taken her when she was young but her purpose was done so in His eyes she was old enough. There was so much more she could have done for Him, yet it was also ok that she now rested with Him.

The biggest one for me was her health and beauty. We talk about looking good, being attractive, eating well but for what reason since our bodies are finite and will definitely end up in the soil and rot. No apologies for being morbid.

So I ask myself, ‘Why the focus on health and fitness?’

What difference does it make if we will all end up in the same place…six feet under? Why bother to try and live well and a bit longer? Why you ask too?

There aren’t simple answers but I will share the ones He has revealed to me as energy to keep going no matter. We are all born of dust and to dust we must return but the biggest reality is that there is a definite path for us to follow and tasks for us to finish to the glory of God the Father.

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