Finding Freedom / by PJ Monson

Our guest blogger today is the incredible Dorothy Camak.  Dorothy is the Community Relations Director for a pediatric dental practice. She is actively involved in bringing early dental education to area schools.  Dorothy also works as a free lance dental media consultant.  She is a volunteer for the annual AnMed Camellia Ball, a local charity gala.  The event benefits Pediatric Therapy Works, a program that provides physical, speech, and occupational therapy services to children in the community.  Dorothy resides in Greenville, SC where she can be found downtown most weekends scoping out her next "treat meal." 
Follow Dorothy as she completes her "30 before 30 list."


Aristotle said "through discipline comes freedom."

I love a to-do list. I thrive on a schedule. I am the kind of girl who gets a thrill from checking things off! I always did well in school, I keep a tidy home, and I am super prompt.  Why then, did I seem to have little to no self control over diet and exercise?  My childhood, adolescence, and college years were filled with yo-yo diets, obesity, and self loathing.  I bounced from one diet to another, only to fall off the wagon with late night Wendy's drive thru trips. I will not elaborate on the Hot Now Krispy Kreme moments.  ;)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAPost college was filled with many life changes, cross country moves, and you know "adulting." It was during that time that I began to learn about the true freedom(and joy) that comes from living a disciplined life. In order to be disciplined in this area long term, I had to be educated. We know education to be key for success in life, and nutrition/exercise is no different.  This had to be more than striving to be skinny. I had actually lost a significant amount of weight before I was truly educated on the importance of nourishing my physical body and how to properly do it.
My weight loss road has been paved with highs and lows, detours, regrets, and wrecks. I felt, at times, more like my body was the enemy rather than my ally.  Sweet friends, your body is precious.  A gift from God.
Love it.  Nourish it. It will thank you.  When I finally began to understand that we were on the same team, I tasted freedom.  This was a turning point for me.  Just as my soul craves fuel that only my God can give, my body craves a fuel that comes from proper nutrition and clean foods. My true "success" came when I accepted how connected my spiritual self and physical self truly are.  When I submitted to this truth, my pathway cleared.
duringBeyond educating myself on proper nutrition and physical exercise, accountability has been essential in maintaining that freedom.  We are not meant to live our lives alone.  I have friends who spur me on at work, in my faith, and my food and exercise habits.  Aligning myself with people who honor their bodies has been vital to my progress.  I am more likely to practice good habits when I am around those who do the same.  This is a daily practice and could be anything from texting words of encouragement, recipe ideas, or confessing to a slip up! Lean on each other, life is much better that way.
When new friends or acquaintances learn that over seven years ago, I was almost 100 pounds heavier than I am today, they often ask how I did it.  I think the more important question is, "How do you keep doing it?"  I have weighed less than I do as write this, and I just recently lost 20 pounds that I gained a year ago.  You see, my friends, this is a "to-do" list that I will have to make each day. Some days I get it and some days, I fail miserably.  I live my life under the grace of God, and I believe His mercies are new every day.  Each morning, I have a chance to honor Him, and one way to do that is through my body.
So in an effort to give you some practical everyday applications and tips, I will leave you my "Top Ten."  When I find myself veering off the path, these truths always bring me back!
"Fail to prepare, prepare to fail."
10. Meal plan.  Look at your calendar for the upcoming week. Make a grocery list and stick to it.  Plan when and what you are going to eat.  Identify potential pitfalls in the week and plan accordingly.   I may get a few weird looks for eating egg whites at 10am at my desk, but my body cheers me on!
9. Schedule your workouts and treat them with the same priority you would a work meeting, class, or audition.  Listen to your body. Do what is fun.  If you do not like running on the treadmill, don't do it!
8. Drink water. Everyday. All day.
7. Have a measure of progress other than the scale.  (Take measurements, compare clothing, take photos.
6. Treat. Yo. Self.  I have started calling my "cheat meals" "treat meals" because I am not cheating if it is part of the plan.
5. "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper."  A truth that always works.
4.  Do not skip breakfast.
3. Always carry nutritional protein filled snacks.
2. Practice DAILY accountability with a friend.  Encourage each other.
1. Live with gratitude.  "I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.  Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well."-- Psalm 139:14
Follow Dorothy as she completes her "30 before 30 list."