Change begins with one small neurological twitch in the mind or one inkling of the heart. When we see outward or tangible change it has always first begun somewhere deeper in the recesses of that person’s mind and heart. Sometimes transformation happens and it is intrinsically negative (i.e. a formerly positive and hopeful person becomes embittered, disillusioned or jaded by the world). Sometimes, though, transformation happens and it is a beautiful thing to behold – the proverbial caterpillar becoming a butterfly through metamorphosis in the chrysalis.
Working with hope-filled and motivated Luminaries Retreat guests has been an avenue to behold a thing of beauty – true lifestyle change leading to greater health, wellness, sugar detox and in many cases, sustainable weight loss. Not every guest comes here specifically with a weight loss goal in mind. Recently, a guest spent a month with us who simply wanted to feel better, with the emphasis on lifestyle change leading to that. In order to feel better from the inside out, there are a number of radical changes that need to be made and this is what we focused on for her and I will restate here for your benefit.
1) Sugar Detox. Goodbye to processed simple carbs, added sugars of all kinds, and of course goodbye to the typical beverages laden with both natural and artificial sugar.
2) Nutrition therapy at a cellular level – that is, an appropriate ratio of the macro nutrients: Proteins, good fats, and good carbohydrates. In addition, a focus on the micronutrients: vitamins and minerals through dietary sources and occasionally additional supplementation if necessary.
3) Promotion of gut health. Prebiotic foods serve to “feed” the probiotics we eat and drink regularly here. I love to get people sampling new foods and drinks like kefir, kombucha, raw sauerkraut, probiotic protein power and green drink (i.e. wheat grass).
4) Daily exercise. Just saying you are going to exercise on a regular basis is obviously very different than actually doing it! We promote a safe, fun, nurturing environment to move the body in a myriad of ways. Hiking, biking, kayaking. And yes, even dancing can be exercise (one retreat group invited me and my family and the whole community to an impromptu kid-friendly dance party on the Friday night of their retreat week, see below)!
5)Supportive group meetings. Perhaps this is as “formal” as a OA, Weight Watchers, or a Luminaries Monday night meeting. Or, perhaps this is just you and a friend meeting/texting/talking regularly or if you’re involved in a small group, just asking that group for prayer and accountability with your goals.
6) One-on-one time to just talk openly and honestly about motivation, soul-care, and the “whys” behind our habits and patterns.
Implementing these changes can indeed result in micro (small) or macro (huge) differences in your daily life and habits. We often use the phrase “lifestyle change” rather than “diet” because of the focus on true metamorphosis.
“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” Romans 12:2
In this passage, we are exhorted to renew our minds in order that we may have wisdom to discern the will of God. God’s will, in juxtaposition sometimes to our human will, is always good and acceptable and perfect. Sometimes God’s will and our wills are one and the same and this is what we’re going for in living out life! I hope for more and more decisions that are synced this way. This is only going to happen for me by renewing my mind and testing a situation I am faced with through the lens of God’s word and what I know to be good, acceptable and perfect.
What I’ve written above has application to a thousand areas of life. I will take just a moment to flesh out what it looks like on a journey of health and wellness for myself. I am writing in the first person here because I firmly believe that every person has a unique application to these principles and I don’t presume to know what is the best application for you. I’m putting the charge to you to seek this out in your own life, through testing, with the hope that you yourself will come to know what is good, acceptable, and perfect according to God’s will for you.
For me, I believe that it glorifies God to treat my body in a way that I know is healthy. If I decide to overeat a meal, mindlessly snack on chips or popcorn while watching a movie till I’m stuffed (“not that I’ve done that”….said no one ever!), drink sugar-laden beverages raising my blood glucose levels to unreasonable levels, forgo exercise because of laziness or inertia, smoke, drink alcohol in excess, eat donuts regularly, etc etc etc and all this leads to obesity or a medical condition that I could’ve prevented by lifestyle choices, well, then, I do not believe that is God’s will for me. So, if I love God’s will for me because I know it is good, acceptable, and perfect, then that helps motivate me on the micro level – the seemingly small decisions and actions Every. Single. Day.
All those seemingly small decisions lead to a pattern, and patterns lead to habits, and habits lead to an identity. “First we make our habits and then our habits make us” (John Dryden, English poet, c. 1600). Our identity shapes our daily choices more than we can imagine. If you want to see those macro changes, it begins with the micro decisions today. And tomorrow. And the next day.
I hope you have a wonderful day and whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all of your might!
Past retreat guests - we always love to hear your updates and how you are applying your healthy habits in your daily life or if you're struggling - we understand, trust me! Drop us a line anytime!