I’m halfway into the Whole Life Challenge, and I’m finding it to be Wonderful Learning Curve. I love learning and have always been a curious little monkey. I’ve spent fifty of my sixty-four years in a classroom, thirty-three of those were spent teaching. The only thing more satisfying than the joy I find in learning something new is helping another experience a beautiful AHA! moment.
The WLC came just as I was settling into a fitness routine involving yoga and walking. I was tracking my steps and my calories, and feeling good about where I was heading; but my flexibility and strength were slowly fading. I chalked it up to old age and accepted the inevitable.
I was vacationing in Florida when the call the enter the challenge came from my pastor, Wayne, who was leading a WLC team to bring attention to The Restoration House. I had the perfect excuse to ignore that call and almost did. When I returned from vacation, Wayne asked if I were going to participate. I told him I tried to register without success. That wasn’t a lie; I had tried six times to get on the team but couldn’t seem to navigate the system. He looked at me, smiled, and told me I was already registered 🙂
I didn’t have my computer in Florida, so I must have registered without meaning to while researching the site on my phone. I love it when God does that, so I smiled and decided to join in the game. I should mention here that my pastor is a former Olympian who has a way of making me want what he has. His love for kayaking has kept him on the river and in great shape. His energy and love for God is contagious, so I couldn’t say no to him or the challenge.
The first week of WLC was a big challenge because I had no idea how addicted I was to sugar, but I was determined to take this challenge seriously because it was about more than me. The team was bringing attention to The Restoration House, a place of hope for those struggling with health and other issues in our community. It is a cause near and dear to my heart, so I wanted to do the cause justice with this challenge. After you watch this, you’ll see what I mean.
Love can be restored, and this place is proof of that. It is across the street from my home and already a part of my heart.
One of the side effects of getting sugar out of my system was the sleep that came as soon as sugar went. I slept ten and sometimes eleven hours at night during the first week. I was craving what I couldn’t have and felt whipped. Pineapple, dates, raisins, and coconut kept me on course and replaced the sugar that once kept my body inflamed.
Of the seven components in the challenge, nutrition was worst for me; but the halfway mark, I have nutrition down pat. Now, the lifestyle component is the one that intrigues me most because I’m seeing real changes that I know will stay with me. I struggled the first week when asked to come up with three goals stated as if they were already true. I was to use “I am” rather than “I want to” or “I hope to” be or do.
The goals came quickly on paper, but they weren’t real until the second week. They are true today. I am not addicted to sugar. I am flexible, and I am strong! For the second half of the challenge, I’m adding: I don’t miss sugar. I am more flexible than I’ve been in years, and I am getting stronger every day. The teacher in me appreciates the time, effort, and energy that goes into the WLC. The student in me appreciates the changes that have taken place in my body and life over the past four weeks as I have learned healthier ways of living.
I have lost a few pounds and inches during the past four weeks, but I’ve gained so much more. I have a new sense of wellness, and I have a greater sense of who I am. God has used this challenge to help me understand the importance of taking good care of myself. He’s also taught a valuable lesson with the bonuses and indulgent points. I’ve earned a lot, but I haven’t used many of them. Each time I decide to splurge, I am disappointed. That’s been the best lesson of all.
As I head into the last half of the WLC, I plan to remember a birthday card Chris Green, one of my middle-school students, gave me years ago. It had a picture of a very old lady holding a boom box on her shoulder while riding down a steep hill a skateboard. It read, “Don’t worry, once you’re over the hill, you pick up speed!” That’s going to be my mantra for the next four weeks as I remember how great it feels to do the right thing when it comes to my health and well being.