Cupcakes and Bathing Suits

One of the best reasons to lose weight and get fit? So you can serve God.

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Posted in , May 8, 2015

Cupcake on a scale. Photo: Thinkstock.

Editor's Note: Welcome to Day 8 of Guideposts' 14-Day Fitness Challenge! We're sharing stories that will inspire you to eat better and get in shape so you can feel your best. Today's challenge is to think of a new reason to get healthy. If you're just joining us, check out our previous challenges here.

If you’re in a mall in the mountains of North Carolina, and you hear loud wailing and weeping coming from the fitting room, there’s no need to worry—that’s just me trying on bathing suits.

For those of us who are horizontally-challenged, finding a new swimsuit ranks right up there with root canals, an IRS tax audit or facing a firing squad. Oh my word, can any of you relate?

Sometimes I feel like I’m a living history museum that features every bite I’ve ever eaten—and I keep adding new exhibits. It’s bad enough trying on dresses or slacks, but standing in that tiny fitting room in a bathing suit makes me acknowledge something I don’t want to admit: Cupcakes and bathing suits aren’t a good combination.

The dressing room is bad enough, but then comes that awful moment when you get to the beach or the pool and you have to pull off your oh-so-awesome cover-up while surrounded by all those skinny Barbie types. It always feels like I should have one of those planes flying overhead with a sign that reads, “The Goodyear Blimp has arrived!”

READ MORE: FIT FITNESS INTO YOUR LIFE

The only reason you’ll find me out in public in a bathing suit is because of my grandchildren. I don’t want to miss playing with them in the sand and hearing the sweet sound of their laughter. Hence the moments in the dressing room trying on a stack of evil bathing suits.

So you will understand how excited I was to hear about some special swimsuits one morning while watching TV. These suits were guaranteed to make a woman look ten pounds smaller. Yes! I immediately decided to buy six so I could layer them and look sixty pounds lighter. I wish.

Bathing suit season is a good motivator to lose weight but there’s an even more important reason—to get healthy. I’d always known that, but about seven or eight years ago when I started having some health issues with high blood pressure and blood sugar levels that were inching the wrong way, I realized I was going to have to make some changes. 

Here are some things I’ve learned that might be helpful to you as well:     

  • Do it to get healthy. It’s one thing to go on a diet to lose weight, but there was something about changing my lifestyle to get healthier that made a real mental difference. I realized that if I cheated or made unwise choices, I was just hurting me.
     
  • Learn to read labels and do internet searches for nutrition information for restaurants. It’s a real eye-opener when you discover that the milkshake you just consumed had 65 grams of fat or that your meal has a whopping 4,653mg. of sodium. Restaurant portions are often much larger than what we need, so consider sharing a meal or taking half of it home for the next day.
     
  • Put your favorite recipes on a diet. These are the foods you like and you already know that the recipes are good. Look and see how you can keep the taste but change them to where they’re lower in fat, calories, and sodium by substituting ingredients. I discovered that my family often couldn’t tell the difference when I served them my new healthier versions.  
     
  • Make healthy choices—but allow room for an occasional treat. You know, like cupcakes. Making ourselves think that we can never have a favorite food again sets us up for failure. Moderation is the key.
     
  • Find some healthier snacks that you really enjoy so that when an attack of the munchies hits you, you’ve got something to choose that isn’t the really bad stuff. I love the 100-calorie snack packs because that helps me know when I’m done. 
     
  • Start exercising. Yeah, I suspect that some of you are hyperventilating at this point. I know that because I was once one of you. Shucks, I even thought about claiming I Timothy 4:8 where it says “…bodily exercise profiteth little…” as my life verse. 

But you know what? Even something as simple as walking can make a huge difference. Just twenty minutes three times per week can help your cardiovascular health.

So go for a brisk walk. Ride a bike. Jog around the park. Or play a sport that you enjoy. You’ll feel better—and your doctor probably won’t fuss at you as much.

  • Get rid of the excuses. This is an important one. I used to find every excuse in the book to keep from exercising. It’s too hot. It’s too cold. It’s raining. The pollen will bother my allergies. I’m snowed in. Yeah, you get the picture. 

But when I got serious about getting healthier, I determined that I wouldn’t let my excuses derail me from what I needed to do. Too hot or too cold? Raining? I’d go to the mall and walk. It’s inside and temperature controlled. I’ve walked inside at Walmart and the grocery store. The key is to set a timer and don’tmake stops along the way. 

Shucks, this former couch potato even trained for a 5K using the Couch-to-5K website. (Pause a moment while I adjust my halo.) When I got snowed in where I couldn’t get out to exercise, I jogged inside my house—around tables and the kitchen island, up the stairs, and from room to room—because I didn’t want the excuses to keep me from becoming fit and reaching my goal.

READ MORE: HOW TO CREATE HEALTHY HABITS

If any of you are wondering if I’m now excited about bathing suit season, I can sum it up in three words:  Sweet mercy, no! I’m still nowhere near thin—but I’m grateful that my efforts are paying off with better health.

So if you’re out on the beach this summer and you see a horizontally-challenged old gal who looks like she’s trying to hide, make sure you stop by and say howdy. I’d love to meet you. Let’s just agree to ignore the fact that we’re both in bathing suits.

And before we get off the topic, there’s one final reason to lose weight and get fit--do it so you can serve God. This is the most important reason. When we don’t feel well because we’re out-of-shape and sluggish, we can’t do things for Him at our full potential.  

Physically fit and spiritually fit. Those are good goals for all of us.

I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. (Philippians 4:13)

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