Starting a nonprofit can be stressful. I would like to say otherwise, but it’s just true. You don’t know what you don’t know, as they say, and so I had created a belief that putting myself on the back burner, working 15 hour days, and eating whatever and whenever was somehow the noble thing to do. After all, I was ‘helping’ people and so my needs weren’t important right now. I would take care my health later.
I can hear right now the thoughts in my head when I would look in the mirror and see myself looking tired (more like exhausted), bloated, bloodshot eyes, asthma kicking in and my gray hair growing in at an alarming rate. I’m 46 by the way. I’d somehow elevated my exhaustion to some badge of honor. I had a list of excuses for the pizza bagel mornings, the high sugar energy drink lunches and the fast food dinners.
That was until my moods became uncontrollable and that fateful day of seeing a picture of the Original graduates and I at dinner. I actually thought the picture of myself was someone else. I looked 10 years older, my outfit looked like I was back in the 90’s and my skin appeared dingy and lifeless. What happened? I use to be an athlete. I taught step aerobics for years (and yes, I just dated myself.)
I even remember being somehow convinced that a person running a nonprofit, especially a Christian, needed to appear a certain way and that a sacrificial look was required. I don’t know when those insecurities snuck in but the day I saw that picture, two worlds collided. I pondered for a while, “This is not who I am”. There was this glam girl inside of me screaming to get out. I wasn’t being true to myself. I loved being fit. I loved looking good. I use to love my long hair, highlights, toned legs and most of all, I loved the clear mind and healthy mood and balance that came from taking care of my body and healthy diet.
Many of us make up our own versions of this story. Moms, entrepreneurs, work-a-holics, wives, husbands, or anyone that is pushing themselves to the next level or have a vision you want to overcome or accomplish. Maybe you haven’t let yourself go completely like I did. Maybe you believe in putting others first and feel guilty thinking any other way. I did too!
But what if one doesn’t have to follow the other. What if ‘first’ is the illusion? At Crossing the Jordan, we are all about improving ourselves and we deal with addiction of many kinds. Addiction is, by nature, the most selfish of all. We are willfully checking out of our responsibilities, relationships and any chance of a future. A part of our course curriculum is to learn to deny ourselves and to become aware of self indulgence and how destructive actions can be that can ultimately lead someone to need a residual program. No condemnation here, just an awareness. But this applies to the rest of the world also…are we really being selfless when we put others before ourselves? Tricky question.
I’m pretty tired of today’s messaging. ‘Put yourself first’. That is true in a matter of words but we’ve gotten lost in translation. We are all about me, me, me. Comfort, comfort, comfort. I believe that’s the root mindset of addiction and the culture we live in.
So what am I saying? And how does this relate to my weight loss goals? What if we just shifted our approach to caring for ourselves a little differently. What if we understood self discipline as a gift to ourselves and others? That by denying the things that our flesh desires, we are giving to both ourselves and our families and friends. What if self-control is the spirit in which allows us to be all that we can be, simultaneously blessing everyone around us? There is no order to caring for whom first.
I hit over 200 pounds before I stopped painting myself as a martyr to the nonprofit world. I was scared to be judged by others for not being selfless enough! Oh, the thoughts that can back us into a corner. What story are we telling ourselves?
I wasn’t putting others first at all by letting myself go. My marriage was rocky because of my moods, my children were paying because I had no patience and the women that I was mentoring were experiencing my lack of confidence no matter how many classes I taught on self-worth. I was putting myself first, selfishly, by allowing my health to decline. Same old Dana. Me, me, me. Oh yuck. When that old voice started to ring true, I was quick to respond. By denying my own desires (comfort food, sugar, inactivities), I was actually putting my family and ministry first.
I started studying and googling and not just reacting by eating a ‘rabbit food’ type of diet. That wasn’t sustainable for me. I’m not into lettuce. I read like crazy and realized that insulin had played a huge part of my weight gain and mood swings. I wanted my brain back. I knew I was eating out of emotion so I took the Optimal You Quest developed by our very own, Sarah Grieb.
I discovered the Keto lifestyle and intermittent fasting on my journey. It wasn’t easy at first but within a few weeks, my moods become stable and my energy was more stable than it’s been in years. The pounds were falling off because my focus was more than losing weight. And they’ve stayed off because of the advice I live by. I’m not perfect and I have my weak moments, if I stumble but I get right back to my lifestyle because it’s not a diet. I stay committed because I wanted to inspire others and get focused to impact even more lives. To be pleasant and kind and loving to my loved ones. Not burnt out, irritable, or with unpredictable behavior.
It’s never just about the weight. I love curvy girls. I guess I still am one according to some weight loss charts. I’m 5’8” and 160 lbs. I wear a size 8 or 10 and I’m still ‘overweight’? Whatever. Today, It’s about how clean I feel inside. It’s about how I can chase my dreams because my body now follows. It’s a way bigger picture than the pounds around my belly. When I finally understood that the weight stayed off. My vibe came back. I restyled myself, intentionally, in many different ways.
And so, Dana got her groove back.
We are all about sharing the love at Crossing the Jordan. I’ve put together a 10 Step Keto Quick Start Guide to get you going and I highly suggest you check out the Optimal You Quest, Transformation at a Cellular Level to learn more about the ‘why’ in your weight loss journey.
Let’s get it together, people. Heal the soul, clear the mind follow up with the body . Because the world needs more of YOU.
10 Steps to the Keto Lifestyle
Get Keto Guide
Get Keto Adapted
Buy Ketone Strips
Get In Your Fatty Oils
Know Your Healthy Fats
Introduce Intermittent Fasting
Add Supplements & Bone Broth
Sleep more. Stress Less
Stay Ready with Your Food List