Your Gaze Determines Your Health

Have you ever paid attention to how often you spend looking down?  In my pursuit to find the secret to living as an anchored female, I’ve learned a lot about how my gaze determines my health, my energy, my love, and my life.

As a recovering performance-based people pleaser I’ve noticed that all too often my focus has been on myself – looking at my belly button at all the things I’m not.  I have spent many of my days looking down at my body and judging it, down at the scale – dissatisfied with the number, down at my phone as I track my food and down at my watch as I track my time and my steps.  Each one of these left little to no time for anyone or anything – and quite honestly – I didn’t have then energy for anything else because these things were keeping me down, defeated… depressed!

It’s been scientifically proven that when we have a poor downward posture we are impacting our psyche in a negative way.

Jesus calls us to love others as we love ourselves.  Well, my thought life was definitely about me, however,  those thoughts are far from loving ones!  How can we even begin to love others and live wholly when we can’t seem to get over the downward approach to our body-image and all the ways that we believe we are failing.

Who told you that?

Who told you that you’re falling short? Who told you that you don’t weigh the right amount?  Who told you that your thighs or stomach aren’t the right size?

We all enter into the fitness and nutrition world with the right intention (for the most part) we want to take care of our bodies.  We start off looking up and out at what we can do to feel stronger, feel less tired, feel more alive… yet, somehow we all end up feeling defeated, have more self-hate then when we started, and looking down a whole lot more!

The difference from when we started our fitness mission to a few weeks after is the direction of our eyes.  Are you looking down at yourself trying to be like someone else?  Are you looking down at the scale trying to make it “your” number?  When you started your health and wellness journey your eyes were looking up and out with hope and then the enemy comes along and beings to whisper doubts and thoughts of self-hate into your ear.

I am here to encourage you to keep those eyes up and out, not down and in:

  1. Stop trying to fit yourself into a mold that isn’t yours to fit into.  Many of us aren’t even overweight, yet treat ourselves like we are and trying to be a smaller size to receive approval from the world – stop it!
    1. if you do need to lose weight, by all means, eat healthy and whole foods but DO NOT look down on yourself.  You are a temple for the Holy Spirit.  Don’t look down and work for a number – Look up in hope, love, and trust and fuel your body because of the love your heavenly father has for you and because you’re a special and beautiful treasure keeper!
  2. Stop tracking every single calorie and macronutrient if it stresses you out!  I started with the right approach – track my food to see how and what I’m eating.  Not long after starting I was tracking and judging myself based on my performance-driven mindset of meeting all expectations (even from an app that has  no idea what my body needs any given day)
    1. Your nutrient needs change every single day.  limiting yourself to an app, a set amount of calories or micronutrients are keeping you looking at your phone and listening to that vs. listening to your body and it’s needed. Two things happen when you do this:
      1. you create deficiencies in your body that causes stress and leads to a whole bunch of issues (chronic fatigue (me), adrenal issues, insulin issues, blood sugar regulations…)
      2. You train yourself to stifle your inner cues – guess who else you’ll end up stifling?!?  The Holy Spirit.  When we stop listening to the amazing body that our God gave us, we stop listening in general because we end up looking down in defeat
    2. Instead, Look Up with confidence and trust that you are made perfectly and when we listen to your body, you’re allowing the wonderful work of your creator to fuel your body in the correct ways.
  3. Stop beating yourself up through exercise! Our bodies were created to move, but they weren’t created to move exactly the same way every single day.  variety is the spice of life in fitness, nutrition, and experience. Recently I went for a run and I could hardly go a mile – strange, since three days before I ran 5 with ease.  I started to shame myself and my weakness until I realized I am not the same person every single day!  And, neither are you.  We are a cyclic being.  Our nutritional needs, fitness needs, sleep needs… are different depending on the day or week we’re living in.  Expecting the same output from our bodies, in the same way, every day hurts not only our bodies; but also our mind and spirit.  We need to stop it!  If we don’t ‘have it’ on any given day a simple walk would be enough – heck, sometimes we just need a nap!  Instead, Look up with celebration and praise at how our bodies are created.  Count your blessings as you move and treat your body like the blessing from God that it is.

These are only a few ways that your gaze impacts your ability to love yourself and in turn love others.  Each meal, workout and day is an opportunity to connect with others and God.  You’ll miss these opportunities to live missionary if you’re distracted by the things that keep your gaze downward and inward. True health and healing comes from Jesus, not from rules. So,  Look up! Look Out! It’s beautiful out here!

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