Freedom, Grace & Fitness // Spiritually Fit Day 2

Friday, July 15, 2016

Meet Suasnnah Collins. Jesus Christ Follower. Wife to her long time crush, Harrison. Living in Black Mountain, NC. Group Fitness Instructor. Foodie. Adventure seeker. University of Florida graduate. Saved by His sweet grace. 

Suzy's passion is to pursue a healthier lifestyle along side other people as we encourage and challenge one another. Fitness and health have been an ongoing battle in her life as she has wrestled with the entanglements of insecurities, bad habits, and wrong motives. However, when she turns her eyes upon Jesus, she finds freedom in the very things that can enslave her!

For Day 2 of our Spiritually Fit series, we interviewed Suzy on her passion for fitness. Below, you'll discover great and helpful insights, and you'll catch some direction towards taking the best care of your spiritual temple that you possibly can. Find all the goodness below!



Share your health journey/how you make healthy, disciplined food choices.


Growing up, food was an idol in my life. On one hand, I lacked self-control and would let my cravings dictate the choices I made. More often than not, I ate foods that did not fuel my body and I often left meals feeling over-stuffed and full of guilt. However, there were also seasons of my life where I did eat healthy, to a fault. Food was once again an idol, but in a different way. I obsessed over what I ate, when I ate, and how much I ate, and I let it consume my thoughts. My motivation was vanity and it all stemmed from wanting to have a certain appearance to gain the approval of others. At both ends of the spectrum, it was very empty.

It was during my college years at the University of Florida where God really started working on my heart as it related to my health and fitness. Though I had had a relationship with Jesus since I was a little girl, I had always kept this part of my life silent and covered in shame. During my freshman year, I committed to the Daniel Fast for 40 days and throughout that time I read through John Piper’s book, Hunger for God, and journaled my thoughts along the way. This was just the beginning of the Lord beginning to draw me closer to Him and open up this part of my heart that I had kept so shut tight.

In my junior year of college, I decided to become a group fitness instructor and throughout my training and teaching classes of my own, God really began to grow a passion in me for health and fitness, but greater than that, a passion for building relationships through fitness. How ironic, that what had once been a place of secrecy, shame, and guilt for me was becoming an outlet for me to love & serve others as we grew alongside each other.

And that is a little bit of the journey that let me to where I am now. I still have a love for teaching group fitness, but I have currently been finding so much joy in building relationships with women around the country through my online fitness accountability groups. As we commit to making our fitness a priority with exercise and nutrition, my ultimate goal is to keep our eyes focused on Christ in the process because He is the only place I have ever found true FREEDOM in my fitness. Jesus cares about us deeply, soul, mind, and body, and my hope is to share that with other women as we learn to take care of ourselves as well. I am so thankful to the Lord for the opportunity He has given me to work and serve in my sweet spot with the passion He has laid on my heart!


I'm so thrilled to be sharing a little bit about how we can honor the Lord with our food choices today on this sweet Daughter of Delight blog! Let's dive in!


We are not the owners of our bodies, but we are the caretakers of it.

You don’t have a soul, you are a soul. You have a body.” -C.S. Lewis

As we dive into today’s focus on food, cleansing, and self-control, I want to start out with exploring the concept of stewardship. We see in scripture that we are eternal beings, created for more than what we see now in this physical world where we currently reside. But does that mean that temporary things have no importance? On the contrary, God has called us to be good stewards of what He has given us. We see this in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:14-30), where Jesus makes the point that we will be held accountable for what we did with what we were given. And I believe this same principle applies to our bodies.

This might look very different as it applies to each person. Say you are reading this in full health, with all limbs functioning and no major diseases. (Something we so often forget is a blessing in itself, right?) Stewardship for you may look different than someone reading this who has been born with health struggles, has endured serious injuries, or has developed a disease of some kind. You see, our bodies and our health, are gifts. As are the means God has given us to take care of our our bodies through nutrition and exercise.

As we see in the parable of the talents, it is not about what we have been given, but about what we do with what we have been given. Our stewardship of our health can ultimately open us up for more opportunities to be used by God. Not to say He is confined to any of our physical limitations, but that it is our responsibility to take care of our bodies so that He can use us for His kingdom and His ultimate glory in as many ways as possible!


Here’s a beautiful example. My sister-in-love, Allie King, is a 29-year-old, active and healthy wife, mama of two, fitness instructor, and florist. In her fitness class, there came a serious need for a woman’s husband to receive a kidney transplant. Because Allie stewards her health well, she was not only able to donate her kidney so that He can live a longer, more fulfilling life, but she was also able to recover well from her surgery in amazing time so that she could again be able to serve, love, and take care of her family well. What a sweet picture of how our bodies are not our own (1 Corinthians 6:19-20), yet we are called to steward them well for the glory of God!




What are some practical ways to honor God through our food choices?
So, we see that taking care of our bodies it not only important, but biblical. What then are some practical ways that we can honor God with our food choices? Here are 4 simple tips to help keep our minds, and our HEARTS, focused on honoring the Lord with our nutrition.


1. Eat Clean
What is clean eating? It’s simply eating food at it’s most natural state. “Food is something that was once alive, that came from the earth, sea, or sky.” Before you dive into calories & carbs, I advise you to consider if the food you are eating is, in fact, realfood. A simple way to do this is to shop in the outside section of the grocery store. If your cart is filled mostly from the produce section, you will be off to a great start!


2. Drink Water
Often, when we think we are hungry and our tendency is to reach for a quick snack, what we may actually be experiencing is dehydration. Recent studies say that we should be drinking about half our weight in ounces of water each day. The easiest way for me to make this happen is to have a refillable water bottle on hand throughout the day. If not, I only end up drinking at meals and that hardly adds up to the H2) I should be getting each day! As my husband always says, hydrate or diedrate, hehe.


3. Plan Ahead
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. For starters, simply looking ahead at your calendar each week can help you prepare for success in your food choices. For example, if you know you have a wedding coming up and wedding cake is your absolute favorite treat, maybe skip out on the froyo or cookies that week. If you know you’ll be going out to dinner for a friend’s birthday, check out the menu online in advance and see what healthy choices they have available at the restaurant.

In general, my husband and I eat most of our meals at home. The method that works best for me is knocking out my grocery shopping for the week on Sunday afternoons after church. Then, I take a little bit more time up front to chop my veggies, pull my chicken, make my salad dressing, etc. While it does take more time on the front end, it saves me so much time, thought, & stress throughout the week! Some of my worst food choices are made when I am hungry without a plan. (Hanger sets in and all of a sudden all of my discernment flies out the door!)


4. Ask the question: Am I truly hungry?


Okay, to some, this might seem silly. But for me, this is crucial! I have been guilty in the past and sometimes still fall into the trap of stress-eating… sad-eating, happy-eating. Really, name any emotion, and I could probably find a reason to eat because of it! But here’s the thing, I am trying to fill a need that only Jesus can truly fill. Ice cream never made me happy after a break up and cheez-its never made me feel less stressed the day of an exam, Jesus is the only thing that can truly satisfy the void we often try to fill with food.




How can we cleanse our bodies properly?
What about cleansing? When it comes to cleanses, you’ll hear a variety of opinions on which ones are best and how you should go about them. I would love to simply share with you some helpful resources that have helped shape my perspective on cleansing as well as cleanses that I have tried and have found to be very helpful from the inside out.

Resources:


The Daniel Fast

-Taken from the story of Daniel in the Bible, this is a clean, whole food cleanse without any animal products that people use for both fasting purposes, as well as weight loss.


Hunger for God

-Download John Piper’s book on fasting and prayer for free! This book, though written about fasting, has really helped shape my perspective on food as a gift from our good Giver.


3-Day Refresh

-I have personally done this 3-day cleanse and found it to be a perfect jump-start to getting your nutrition back on the right track when you’re needing a fresh spark and motivation. Read more about my experience here.


The Ultimate Reset

-This 21 day cleanse is no joke and not for the half-committed. While it was tough mentally, I thoroughly enjoyed this cleanse and recommend it to anyone who needs a serious change in their eating habits. This eating plan gives you 3 full meals and snacks for each day, but is carefully crafted with 100% clean meals, eventually working you down to a completely vegetarian diet by the last week. I recommend this cleanse for those trying to break food addiction and bad habits.


Fat Sick and Nearly Dead

-This inspiring documentary shares an interesting perspective on juice fasting and how to do it properly to help with disease, weight loss, and overall improved health.




Share one of your favorite recipes, or one of your own!

I believe food is fuel. Food is medicine. Food is FUN. And food is a gift! Praise the Lord for creating so many rich flavors, unique textures, and bright colors for us to eat! I love this quote by Truett

Cathy, “Food is important to life, therefore, make it good.” I believe God calls us to take care of our bodies because He cares for us! Soul, mind, and body. But healthy food does NOT have to be boring and does not have to taste bland! This is where it gets fun! I dare you to try new things, mix together new combinations, and explore a variety of flavors. You can’t knock it til you try it!


This quinoa avocado salad is one of my favorite recipes because not only is it healthy and delicious,
but it’s simple to make! And look at all the colors! I LOVE colors, on my nails, in my room, and on my plate! Try it for yourself and let me know what you think! 


Recipe here.






If you've made it this far, I hope you feel encouraged that you matter to God, soul, mind, and body, too! Our health journey will have ups and downs, times where we succeed in reaching our goals and times where we will fall short, but His grace is always enough and the journey is always worth it.


You can find Suzy's blog here and on Instagram here

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