What Does Your Blog Title Mean?

Happy Friday, Friends!

Today I want to share a little back story on the title and tagline of this little blog – Always in Joy | Finding the Joy in Everything. Kind of a random name for a weight loss blog right?

I tossed around a few names before settling on Always In Joy. Things Like #JJDoesIdealProtein, The Ideal JJ, and a few others that involved my name and weight loss. None of those options felt right though. I felt like those options that were so specific would limit me in what I was writing and sharing. So I started thinking about Joy. I want that word to describe me.

Joy is an has been a big topic for me over the past few years. I want to live a life of joy. I want my Christ-centered, Christ-filled joy to evident before I open my mouth. I want my satisfaction in Christ to overflow in my words, attitude, actions, and outlook.

One of the major lessons I’ve learned through the years is that our circumstances don’t have to define us or determine our actions and more importantly our reactions. We CAN have joy in all situations.

Hard? Absolutely. Doable? ABSOLUTELY.

This weight loss journey is H A R D. It’s hard to deny cravings and break bad habits. It’s hard to struggle with something that everyone doesn’t necessarily struggle with. But, it’s not impossible to have joy through this season of change. It would be easy to be sad and play the victim because I can’t have what I want (pancakes and bacon). I don’t want to be like that.

I want to find the joy in the struggles, cravings, failures, successes, and anything else that comes at me. The best part is that I know that I can.

We can find joy in everything because there is joy in everything. God will show you if you ask.

I hope that you can find joy in the hardest things in your life. I know that you can do it! – JJ

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Encouraging Myself

There is no such thing as a perfect person. The best of intentions aren’t worth anything when the action doesn’t back it up. This is where I find myself a lot of times in life, not just with food. I had really good intentions to not eat the chips & queso, but I still did it….

Cheats happen. The best thing we can do is to stop, pick ourselves up, and move on. The worst thing we can do is consider the whole day a wash and cheat our little cheaty hearts out. I wrote a similar blog post a few weeks ago when I was battling some major cheat guilt. I’ve learned a lot since then. The biggest lesson being not to let cheats ruin your mental progress.

So now, instead of feeling guilty for too long, I regroup, refocus, and encourage myself to make better decisions. Here’s a snapshot of my inner monologue:

  • Perk up. A cheat doesn’t define you.
  • All of your hard work is not undone by one cheat, but it will start to unravel if you continue to make little cheats here and there.
  • Figure out what went wrong, give yourself grace, and start fresh.
  • Little cheats add up fast. Slow down.
  • You’re going to feel sick later.
  • The first bite will taste just as good as the last bite. You can stop after the first bite.
  • You know what to do and you’re strong enough to do it!
  • You’re capable of not letting this cheat be a domino effect.
  • Go be great!
  • Broccoli is your best friend.

The trick is to be kind to yourself. A little exercise to do is to imagine a close friend who cheated on their food plan. How would you talk to them? Would you be mean, hateful and degrading or kind, comforting, and optimistic? Most of us, hopefully, would be encouraging to our friend and say thing like “You’ll be okay! Get back on the horse! You can do it!” Why would you talk like that to someone else and not yourself? Treat yourself well.

What about you? What are some things you tell yourself to get motivated? What does your inner monologue sound like? – JJ

Half Size Me Podcast

A couple of weeks ago my friend, Dakota, told me about this podcast called Half Size Me. I’d never heard of it before, so I was definitely intrigued. I love listening to podcasts (my favorite is the Relevant Podcast)!

I immediately found the podcast on my iphone app and listened as I drove to and from lunch that day. I’M OBSESSED.

The episodes are so helpful and encouraging! If you love listening to other people’s stories and getting key insight on losing weight and keeping it off, then I highly recommend listening in.

The podcast host, Heather, is a fellow traveler who lost a significant amount of weight and has kept it off!  A true inspiration.

I just wanted to share this info like Dakota shared it with me! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! – JJ

Shame is not Motivation

This is a story that I never tell.

I’m a storyteller. I like to be in the center of the table holding everyone’s attention. I’ve told A LOT of stories, but there is one story that I’ve kept locked away for years. It’s time that I share it.

One day when I was in college, I went to the Caf for lunch. Luke, my then boyfriend and now husband, was waiting for me in the booths. I was standing in the pizza line and one of the workers called out to me and asked “Are you pregnant?”

Stunned and embarrassed I said “No.”

His response was, “Oh, you’re just really fat.”

With all of the confidence I could muster I said, “that’s an incredibly rude thing to say.” Then I immediately left the pizza line and ran to the booths where I cried for an hour.

This isn’t a story about pity or fat-shaming, which is terrible and no one should ever intentionally hurt someone’s feelings, but a story about motivation.

After that encounter I was NOT motivated to make a lifestyle change or choose grilled chicken over pizza. If my memory serves me correctly, I think I went to Chick-fil-a for a fried chicken sandwich, waffle fries, buckets of Chick-fil-a sauce, and then onto Dairy Queen for a blizzard, you know, to “feel better.”

From that moment on, whenever I entered a room, walked across a parking lot, sat in a chair, stood in a line, sunk into a couch, or any other public scenario you can think of there was always a deadly whisper that trickled down from my mind to my emotions that said, “everyone thinks you look disgusting and people feel sorry for you.”

That interaction with that gentleman didn’t drive me into depression or dangerous habits like bulimia, but it did bring shame.

Shame is a hard emotion to deal with, but shame is not a characteristic of God. He doesn’t include shame in the fruit of the spirit, but instead erases shame from our lives completely. Because of Jesus’ life and sacrifice, we are forgiven and don’t have to feel shame. I’m so thankful for that truth!

Because I have a relationship with Jesus, I knew that thought was a lie. I trust in the fact that nothing I can do (or look like) can separate me from God’s love. I know that I’m accepted by Christ. Thankfully, in the moments where that thought or thoughts like that rise up in me, I can capture it, remember God’s truth, and confidently move on.

A couple of weeks ago I read the story of Hosea in the She Reads Truth study I’m going through. I love the story of Hosea. It’s such a clear picture of how much God loves us, how he pursues us, and how we were made to be in relationship with him.

If you are unfamiliar with this story, please take a minute to read this.

How these 2 stories (my shame story + Hosea) relate together is this: nothing satisfies like Jesus. Not people, not things, not food, not even weight loss. A life giving relationship with Jesus is the only way that we’ll be truly satisfied. We are worthy of being pursued by God. We don’t have to feel shame.

I loved what Ellie Holcom wrote, “I couldn’t believe God wanted anything to do with me. I knew better, had made terrible decisions, and yet here He was saying I was chosen, beloved, forgiven, and pursued by Him! Like Gomer, I was a picture of the wayward Israel, chasing other gods and other loves, when the true God pursued me and purchased me as His own.”

Prior to starting my journey, I felt just like that.

What I’m really learning is that shame doesn’t motivate me into good decisions. I think that’s how a lot of people operate. Making decisions out of shame / fear instead of a place of joy / love.

I knew that I had ignored a major problem in my life. Because of that secret shame I felt, I hindered myself from being truly satisfied in the Lord. I’m excited to tell you that over these 7 weeks, not only have I recognized this issue in my life, but I’ve given it up.

It’s God’s love empowers us to make good decisions. I want my outer self to reflect what’s going on inside – satisfied in Christ not food.

Big decisions like getting healthy, ignoring food temptations, or recognizing the major areas that you struggle in won’t last or be permanent in your life is shame is your #1 driving factor. Make big decisions to change because of love. Love for yourself and the truth of how much God loves you.

This was a more emotional post than I’m used to writing. It’s hard to drum up these old feelings that I’ve done such a great job at stuffing down. It’s hard to re-play that encounter over and over, but in a weight loss journey old emotions rise to the surface faster than anything. It’s hard, emotional, and messy.

Now, I see joy in this story. I can see God redeeming that interaction as a pivotal moment in my physical and spiritual life. Shame doesn’t and never will motivate me. Love motivates me. – JJ

If you have any commentary on this post, I’d love to hear it, but please stay positive. This was a really hard story for me to share. If you’re struggling with shame and need someone to talk to, I’d love to listen.