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Lessons from the Puzzle….focus UP!

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I was doing a puzzle with my 4 year old – you know, the kind that doesn’t really have “notches” and is just where you have to place them together and hope no one bumps your table!!  As we were doing this puzzle, I sat back and realized how many life lessons were being brought to my mind:

Lesson 1 – Strong foundation:   As with any puzzle, it’s important that we do the outside boarders first.  That represents our foundation in life.  We need to set a strong foundation on the Lord, or the rest of the puzzle (of life) just won’t make much sense.  There will be nothing to hold us together if our boarders aren’t set.

Lesson 2 – Turn them over:  If we can’t see the pieces, it can be very difficult to know what we have to work with.  This goes for our lives as well. We have to have a good perspective on things and have a clear picture of everything in order to know how to best deal with situations.  Good and bad.

Lesson 3 – Look at the box:  This was the recurring theme of doing this puzzle.  Because there are not really “notches” it was a HARD puzzle.  The only way a 4 year old would know where the states belong is to look at a guide.  To have a plan in front of her and to follow that plan.  As much as she wanted to put California over on the East coast – I had to remind her to look at the box, and see where it belonged!  Isn’t that life?  We often want to put our plans where WE think they should go instead of looking to God and His word for the clear placement.  Or we think we know better, or we guess at how things should go  – but if we would simply FOCUS up and “look at the box” – look to HIM – we will be able to work in our lives with less frustration!

Lesson 4 – Support matters:  I felt my role during this puzzle putting activity was to redirect her, but more importantly to support her and cheer her on with every piece she got correct!  When we are surrounded by people who cheer us on and support us in life – we are much more apt to continue on our path and feel confident in our journey!  Support matters!

Lesson 5 – The missing piece:  As with most puzzles at our house, we got to the end and there was ONE piece missing.  One.  Yes, that can be a bit frustrating!!  Especially when you are 4 years old and you have worked really hard on the puzzle!  We looked in the box, we looked on the ground, and it was no where to be found!  At that moment by 8 year old came in and said – oh, I know where that piece is!  And she looks in the drawer to pull it out!! Yippiee!!  It had been found.  Isn’t that like our lives?  We can have it nearly all together, but sometimes still feel like we are missing something!!  Usually that is our focus on the Lord – when we feel like something is missing….let’s focus UP!

Lesson 6 – Destroying the puzzle:  So, my 2 year old felt the need to jump on the finished puzzle!!  As you can imagine – that didn’t go well with my 4 year old.  But it also brought me to realize that sometimes our lives are rocking along just fine and here comes something bad, or hard, or difficult and it feels like someone is jumping on our puzzle of life!!  Satan likes to work in these situations and he wants to destroy the good things that are built in our lives.  We have a choice – we can either give up and stall out.  Or we can decide to rebuild the puzzle of our lives by “looking at the box” and focusing UP on the Lord to help us through!!

So, wherever you are in the building of your puzzle of life, I pray that these lessons bless you as they did me as I applied them to my own life!!  Keep building, keep focusing UP, keep remembering that YOU are worth it!

–Rachel Curtis

P31 Fitness Founder

Finding a “WEIGH” Out

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worth-more

 

We have all done it.  Gotten up out of bed, made it to the place where our scale lives, taken every ounce of clothing off including our EARRINGS to be sure that nothing extra weighs us down,  Then we do it – we step on the scale.  We silently hope the number will be what will “satisfy” some mysterious number that we think it should be.  We have high expectations of a drop in the number from the day before (or the hour before if you weigh several times a day).  We get on that scale fully convinced that we have been “good” that week with our food, and exercise, and so that number SHOULD be less!

Been there?  Done that?

I have!!  I even had charts posted above my scale, and would mark each day’s weight.  I would beat myself up if the number was higher than the day before.  I would somehow celebrate if the number was lower than the day before.  I would have goals set out for weeks and months ahead declaring what the number WILL read by such and such date.  When I wouldn’t hit that goal date, I would get frustrated and try something else.  Then I would get back on track, try again and re-set my goals, make a new chart, gear up again, and in it all – I would stay in a very DEEP BONDAGE.

Let’s be real for a minute.  Why do we get on the scale?

What does the scale tell us?  For many of us, for too long it has actually told us way too much.  It has told us if we have been good or bad.  The numbers screaming back at us have told us if we have been a successful person or a failure.  The scale has told us if we are worth it or not.  Stop for a moment and see if you can admit that you have found yourself in this place all centered around the number on a scale.

The problem with a scale, is that the more we focus on those numbers, often times we get obsessed, and do not see the results we want.  All of the sudden, the scale becomes what determines our peace and happiness each day.

If we like what we see, we have a great day and feel good about ourselves.  If we don’t like what we see on the scale in the mornings, we have a bad start to the day.  We may then be irritable, not eat well, not treat people as kindly as we should, and all of this because of a NUMBER.  A number!!!

I beg for us all to see the scale for what it is….a scale is simply a machine that tells us a number.  A number that we somehow have allowed to have way too much control over our lives.

Remember, that a scale CAN NOT accurately tell us:

– What we are worth

– If we are a good person

– If we did a great job at workout that day

– If we ate our fruits and vegetables

– If we loved people well that day

– If we served and helped others

– If we are trying our best.

So – let’s find a WEIGH OUT of this bondage and stop the scale saga.  Stop getting on it every day expecting for it to tell you if you are doing a good job in this life.  Stop hoping that the scale will say a number and then be disappointed when it doesn’t.  Stop this cycle.  Throw the scale away and let’s find that WEIGH OUT!

START taking care of your health because you know you need to do so

START spending your time and energy thinking of the positive things in your life

START eating whole foods, not just low calorie packaged foods

START being kind to yourself and have grace

Lastly…

START realizing that your worth comes from God and not a machine’s feedback each morning.

YOU ARE WORTH MORE THAN A NUMBER ON THE SCALE!!

Get Off the Scale - P31 Fitness

Are you focusing on what is “moving” or what is “still” in your life?

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Jacks

Do you ever find yourself being pulled in a million different directions? Emotionally, mentally, physically?  For me, when I am feeling pulled, it’s usually a matter of my focus!!

Today we were at Target, and there was a set of “Jacks” for sale.  I decided it would be a fun to teach my kids how to play this game.  So….we purchased it and when we got home ripped it open to play.

My 5 year old was intent on figuring out HOW to get this game to work.  My 3 year old would just grab as many as possible as the ball bounced off the table.  My 1 year old tried to EAT the jacks.

As we were playing, I was watching my 5 year old Madison try to do this and she was struggling.  She was struggling because she was watching the Jack instead of the ball.  I explained to her that she needed to watch the BALL because that was the thing that was moving.  I told her that the Jack was sitting still and wasn’t going to move on her.  She could trust that it would be in the same place when she went to reach for it!

After a few times – she looked at me and said “Mom, I get it! The jack isn’t moving, but the ball could go anywhere!!  I need to keep my eye on the ball since it is moving and I don’t always know where it is moving to!”

She got it!  From then on  – she hardly missed picking up the jacks and started to get in her rhythm.  The only time she did miss was when she stopped watching the ball.

It got me to thinking about my own life.  What are things that are STILL in my life?  Constant, unchanging, stable  and things that I have a bit more control of in my life? This probably includes God, possibly your attitude, and other things that you can always count on to not move.

VS….

What are those things that are always MOVING every day?  The things that I have no control over, that are not constant and that are always changing?  This probably includes people, emotions, and situations in our lives.

As opposed to what I taught Madison in the game of Jacks, for me – I need to be sure I am staying focused on the constant/still things in my life in order to “win”.  That constant is God and His promises.  This doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t keep an eye out for those things that move all the time, but I can’t expect to have any type of stability if I am focused in on what is constantly changing.

I often get distracted by those things that move.  The emotions and personalities of others, the situations I can’t control, and even the actions of people around me often throw me off course.  I have figured out that I CAN’T live that way.  It is a state of constant uncertainty, confusion, and distraction from what I really want out of life.

So, the next time you think about your emotional state, or where you are in life – ask yourself what you are focusing on.  What are you basing your trust on in life….the things that are constant or the things that are constantly moving?

We all can use a bit more focus on the “STILL” in our lives, and we may find we experience more stability and peace.

–Rachel Curtis

P31 Fitness Founder

Chocolate is not wrong and Spinach is not holy

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chocolate cake

Have you ever felt the MEGA guilt from eating chocolate?  Maybe a better question to ask is who hasn’t felt that?

Everyone I have ever met or talked to has tried a diet, or is on one now.  Are you one of them?  Are you trying some new “diet” now?    Has that diet worked?  Is it working?  Are you emotionally in a good place on that diet, or are you constantly stressed about what to eat or not eat?

Are you degrading yourself because you went off your food list and cheated?  Are you praising yourself because you stuck to your plan?  Just thinking about the emotions that go with all of this makes me tired.  I have been there, done all of that, and I wouldn’t say I was any better off.  Diets and cycles only mad me worse.

That led me to think even further.  I have a question for us all that has really been bothering me!!

“Why have we made Spinach eaters into some “holy people” and chocolate eaters as, well…”not so holy”?

What is that?  It is wrong!!  Maybe we haven’t as much labeled others, but we have ALL labeled ourselves!! Saying things like, “I’ve been good today” (because we ate healthy foods), or the opposite, we say “I was so bad last night” (because we maybe had too much pizza or cookies).

STOP for a minute and really listen to what you are saying.  You are a either a good person or a bad person because of the healthy (or not so healthy) choices you made with your food??  Does that make sense?  No, it doesn’t make sense.  What we eat doesn’t make us “good” or bad”.  It is about WHY we are eating!

If we are eating chocolate or other foods to stuff down emotions, THAT is where we need to be concerned.

Or, on the flip side – if we are eating spinach or other healthy options to “appear” healthy in front of others, THAT is also were we need to be concerned.

Neither of the above are healthy or good!  

We have all done it.  We have all eaten certain foods in the comfort of our own homes that we would never eat in front of other people.  ESPECIALLY in front of people that are also trying to be healthy.  Yes?

We have all also claimed to eat certain healthy foods in front of people we think are healthy.  Or simply gagged down a healthy food because se “should”.  Yes?

Let’s think about something.  Food is not the issue with our weight.  Emotions are the issue with our weight.  I would say that most of us that struggle with our weight know what to eat, what is healthy and not healthy, and have been educated.  The problem is not the food.  The problem is how we see the food and USE the food.

Are we using the food to fill a need?  Are we using the food to numb ourselves?  Are we using the food to appear one way or another? 

Maybe if we start to take note of our heart condition and really think about why we are eating or not eating foods, we will find much more freedom.   Maybe if we will deal with what we are feeling instead of using food to fix our issues, we will be able to detach from that emotional connection we all can easily get with food.

Amidst my own struggles, I had to find a new way.   I had tried every diet plan out there.  None of it worked.  Finally when I started to look at my emotions as they tied in with food, my eyes were opened as to why I ate when I was lonely, bored, stressed, tired, you name it!  I found freedom when I put those two together!

I don’t claim to have it all figured out.

In fact, I struggle often.  However, I do know the freedom that can come when we let go of all of these food rules, expectations, and pressures.  The freedom that brought to me developing the Listen and Lose System.  The freedom that allows me to eat a piece of chocolate and not have the complete guilt meltdown.  The freedom that says I can eat normally, and not in conjunction with my emotions.  

I am not indicating we should eat chocolate all day (may be kind of fun to do one day).  Ha!!

But, what I am indicating is that we need to stop dictating if we are a “good or bad” person based on what goes in our mouths.   We are not “holy” for eating healthy and we are not “bad” for eating chocolate.  Instead, let’s look at our hearts and WHO we are.    Let’s take time to discover our true emotions.  Let’s take time to work on our hearts, even more than our diets.

When our hearts and our emotions are healthy, our body will follow.  

Chocolate is not wrong, and Spinach is not holy!

–Rachel Curtis

Founder, P31 Fitness

Who am I and what am I doing?

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can you remember

I used to think I was alone in this struggle.  I used to think that I was the only one who questioned myself and what I am doing each day.  But now I see clearly that is just a lie.  Most everyone struggles with this at some point in their life!  I think somehow we believe a lie that we are alone, that we are the only one that struggles, and I am sure we have all felt like we should just give up.  I’m going to be really open and real in this post in hopes that it may someone bless even just one person that reads these words.

Do you know who you are?  When you are by yourself, and no one is around – are you okay with who you are?  Do you let yourself be impacted by other people’s reactions to you?  Do you let yourself be impacted by what you think people may be thinking about you?

I will have to say there are times in my life that I know who I am REALLY well, and then there are times that I have NO CLUE – been there? I look back and find that it is in the times when things seem to be sailing smoothly along that I feel the most “sure” of myself.  When things are rocky, I am very unsure.  So unsure that I want to run far far away…like so far away that no one can find me!!  Been there?

Why does this happen to us?  Why do we sometimes change like the wind in our confidence and purpose?  Why do we question who we are?

For me, I find myself questioning small parts of myself.   When I really stop to think about this, the things I am questioning are VERY small parts of myself!  Parts that really are pretty insignificant.  I can have GREAT things going for me, great successes, feelings of love, relationships are good, but then one LITTLE thing can make me feel like a complete failure! Maybe it was something someone said, or didn’t say!  Maybe it was just a feeling of insecurity that came up inside of me.  Maybe it was…well….anything!  I am tired of feeling this way, and I am sure you are too!

Today I challenge myself and I challenge all of you to find a stronger foundation on which we are basing our feelings.  To rest in a foundation that doesn’t change based on how we perceive our world that day.  To be confident in the creatures that God has designed us to be.  Not comparing, not wishing, not striving, not questioning….just resting in who we are.  Every part of who we are.

What if we stopped worrying about what others think and start being thankful for who we are?  What if we stopped looking for the spotlight and attention, and started letting the true light inside of us shine out to the world?  I read a quote that was great, “People who shine from within don’t need the spotlight”.  Powerful stuff!!  So, I ask us all…are we shining from within today?  Are we confident in who we are?  Are we peaceful?

I hope you have been challenged by these words to recognize your worth and your purpose….all without shame, and without insecurity.   I know that if we would do this, the world would be a better place because it would see our TRUE selves!!  We are enough, we do enough, we were made just as we should have been made!  That is good.  That is peace.  That is light.

photo 2 (6)

But I don’t look like them….

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I took my kids to the park the other day.  This park was not located in our town, but in a town about 45 minutes away.  The kids had been begging to go play at the “sand park” with their new shovels, toys, and sand-castle tools!  I was pretty excited as well!

Quick Disclaimer – this is not meant to insult anyone in any way – it is intended to help us all become real with ourselves and WHO we are..just as we are!

When we pulled up, I noticed the parking lot was full (rare for this park).  We unloaded (which is a process with 3 small kids, toys, diapers, bags, and more), but when we finally start to walk over to the sand, I stopped for a minute.  Over by the playground was a group of about 10-12 women.  All dressed very nicely, hair done perfectly, good figures, make up seemed flawless, and it made me want to take my “sweatpants and hoodie dressed self” back to the car.   For a split second, it made me hope they didn’t look at me.  Why?  Why did seeing a group of women bring up these feelings in me?  Why would I be ashamed of myself because of what someone else looks like??

WE ALL DO IT and have all done it!  Comparison is the thief of true joy.  Comparing our bodies, our hair, our make up, our…you name it…with others is never a good thing.  When we feel like we are not like others, we feel insecure.  

So, back to the sand…I put those insecure feelings aside as soon as I took one look at my three amazing kids.  They had smiles on their face, sand toys in hand, and they were SO EXCITED to be at the elusive sand park!  So, we got to the sand and got to work!  We started digging, building, creating, and having a blast.  We had sand everywhere!!  Taylor (my 11 mo old) even ate some of it!!  Yes, mother of the year award for that one 🙂  I kept glancing over at the ladies, and would catch them looking over at us.  In no way do I believe they were talking about us, but it did make me feel judged and uneasy.  However, I just kept playing away with my kids.   At that moment, I was sad for them.  Sad they were missing out on the fun.  I was also happy.  Happy I was able to enjoy these moments with my kids!

All the while, other kids were starting to come over to the sand to play.  These other kids were the children of the ladies standing talking.  As their kids got in the sand, several different ladies yelled out to their kids “Don’t get your hair in the sand, Johny”  or “Do you know how dirty that sand is Sally?”.  I just smiled as we were all COVERED in sand.

Soon, those kids started coming over to play with us!  They saw how much fun we were having building sand castles.  We were laughing, carrying on, screaming for joy when our castles would stick.  Just having a great time together.  

Then, it hit me.  During this sand adventure,  I was able to watch how I have changed over the years.  Obviously, I am not totally healed of it, but I feel I have gotten more confident in WHO I am and HOW I am.  I have gotten better at not comparing myself with other women.  Why?  Here I was having a BLAST with my kids, enjoying these young years (that seem to be flying by), and I felt  about who I am.  I felt like I was doing exactly what I needed and wanted to be doing.   Again, I am not judging these ladies or saying what they were doing was wrong.  I am saying that I can be confident in who I am.  I can wear a hoodie and not have make up on,and be okay with that.  I can also be okay with others that do have nicer clothes on, make up done, hair done, and look better than I do.  It’s not about what we wear, how we look, what size we wear, it is about who we are.  Who we are is always enough!

I wanted to share this with you so that you can see my struggles, in hopes you can relate.   I know all women face these feelings.  We all have struggles of comparison, competition, self-doubt, and more.  I want us all as women to STOP this.  I want us to start to appreciate the women God created us to be.  I want us to be thankful for every moment in our lives with our family, our kids, and to experience life – not waste it with comparison to others.  

So…go play in the sand, don’t worry who is watching, get some sand in your hair and LIVE!

God made each of us, and He doesn’t make mistakes.

 

comparison

The lady in the next booth….yet another diet

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As I was enjoying a nice relaxing breakfast at a restaurant this weekend, I was struck by the words of the lady in the next booth.  Just like many conversations in January (at least where women are concerned), this talk centered around the diet this lady was trying.  She went on and on about the food rules she was having to follow, reading labels like an investigator, what she now had to cut out of her diet, and how she could only eat XYZ.  Then she started lecturing the other ladies about their food choices and “teaching” them what they should and shouldn’t eat!

I sat there, and thought to myself…how sad.  I also thought to myself, how many other people are dealing with this type of bondage of diets and food rules?   The answer came clearly to me…most women are doing this to themselves every day, every hour, every minute!!

Have you been there?  Have you given yourself a million food rules to follow?  Have you judged what others are eating or not eating?  Are you there now?  Trying, striving, searching for the newest “cure” to your weight?

A better question would be – “Have you lived the diet life and then failed miserably and given up?”  YES you have and so has most every other woman in today’s society!!

Why?  Because we all can relate to the woman in the other booth.  We have all tried to fix an inner problem with an outer solution.  Somehow we think that if we can control the food through a diet, we have succeeded.  Somehow we think that when we get to a certain weight we will be happy.  Somehow we think that we can fix all of our problems with getting on a diet and losing weight.  Or, somehow we think that if we follow a diet perfectly we are “good”.  False, false, false.  It won’t work that way.  All of those “somehows” connect food and diets with being good or bad, worthy or unworthy, happy or unhappy.  What?!?  That doesn’t make any sense!  Diets (and sticking with them) will not make us a good person. Just like binging does not make us a bad person.  Our food choices don’t determine these things.  So what do we do?

Maybe we should strive to work on our inner health with the zeal that we work on our outer health.  Maybe we should strive to have some balance.  Maybe we should spend even 1/4 of the time we have spent on food and weight on things like our spiritual, mental, and emotional health.  Maybe, just maybe that if we can work on all 4 parts of health in BALANCE, that the weight and our health will take care of itself.

When we stop trying to fix our life problems with a diet, and start to look inward to see what is really going on at the emotional level, we will find that “fix” we need. By looking inward, we will find that our food and body image problems are often times emotional problems that need attention.  Let’s give those emotions some attention…

How about we stop with the diets, stop with the striving, and start to work on the other parts of health.  By doing so, we will find that our peace, contentment, and most of all our FREEDOM come from all 4 parts of health being in balance.  We don’t have to be looking for the newest latest diet.  We don’t have to compare our food choices with the person next to us.  We are FREE.  Free to listen to our body, and free to listen to our hearts.  The Power of 4 truly is powerful.   Experience it today!

Experience the Power of 4 (1)

–Rachel Curtis

P31 Fitness, Founder

The labels we use…

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As women, we have the tendency to compare, judge, be jealous, envious, and discontent.  We also have the tendency to put labels on ourselves that aren’t correct.  These labels are from our own “lies” we believe, and from what we believe from others.

But you know what?  God wants us to accept ourselves and be happy in Him!  When is the last time you were KIND to yourself?

When is the last time you realized it is about WHO you are, not WHAT you do?
Do you label yourself?  Do you feel like the world labels you?  The labels we put on ourselves only stick if we believe them!
I learned this from a book by Max Lucado called You are Special.  If you haven’t read it, try to find this book.  It has some amazing lessons.  The “labels” only stick if you believe them.  Think on that for a bit!!
   
I believe that we need to stop listening to those labels of the world,  and listen to what GOD says about you as a woman.  Here is what He says: “You are WORTH far more than Rubies.”  Accept that fact and rest in the grace and peace it brings!   Try to hear a message of truth – not the lies from the world.

Remember that if we will work on this area of self-acceptance, we will be much more likely to succeed in all other areas of our lives.  When we like ourselves, it shows!

Labels only stick to us if we believe them!  

WE ARE WORTH IT AND WE ARE ENOUGH!!

May you accept yourself this week and remember that you are loved just as you are!  

 —Have a blessed week!!

Rachel Curtis

Throw away the diet books and be healthy!

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Journals, Logs, Weight loss graphs, magic pills, new plans, charting, tracking…you name it – it’s there!

Who has tried a diet in your past?  Better yet, who has failed at a diet?

Let me tell you something….about 5 years ago, I stopped.

I TRASHED all of my books on diets, plans, and new workout plans.

I stopped searching to find the newest “fix” for weight loss.

I stopped thinking about food, calories, diets, weight.

I stopped.  

Guess what?  I am now FREE.

You know what else?  When I see posts, and diets, and plans online….I run FAR FAR away.  I know that it is like a “drug” to my brain.  It pulls me in, distracts me, makes me unhappy with how I currently look.  It pulls in the nasty word…comparison.  Is that how I should live?  Never feeling good enough?  Never feeling worth it?  No.  Absolutely not.

I know that for me, (and I am sure many of you if you think about it) – all of the diets and focus on health has actually made us worse.  

Let me give you a little background here.  If you don’t know me, I am an obsessive person.  If I have a goal or something I think I should be doing, I do it 100%!  I strive, I try, I work, and I beat it to the ground.  So, in the area of nutrition, food, workout…I let it become something that was controlling my life.  I HAD to workout every day.  I HAD to write down everything I ate.  I HAD to workout extra hard if I had too much to eat.  I HAD to make goals and re-make them and re-make them.  I was OBSESSED.  You know what?  It didn’t get me anywhere but to a place of craziness and discontentment.  It took me to a place of disordered thinking about health and disordered eating.  No one wants to be there!   I was heavier than I had ever been.  I was more unhealthy than I had ever been.   The one thing I was trying to get away from came at me with more force than I ever could have imagined.

Have you ever thought about how much time and energy is spent on thinking about your physical health?  Yes it is important to be healthy, but it is NOT healthy to obsess about numbers, calories, good foods/bad foods, diets, weight and more.  It is not healthy.

Relate the amount of time you spend thinking about your physical health to the amount of time you spend thinking about your spiritual, mental, and emotional health.  Is it equal?  Are you in balance?  Probably not.  I can say that confidently because I have been there!   

I follow this simple rule:  “Listen and Lose” and I created a book about this.  Listening to my body for hunger cues.  Listening to my emotions before eating.  I believe with all of my heart that this is the answer.  I want you to believe it too.  It works and it is peaceful.

Do I still struggle?  Yes!!  But am I in a better place?  Yes!   Am I more healthy than when I was thinking about all of that all the time?  YES!!!  I am free.  

In life, that is what we all need to strive for…freedom.  Freedom in Christ, freedom in our lives, and freedom from the food, body and diet rules that surround us in society.

This new year, I want to challenge us all to live in balance.  I want to challenge us to not get sucked into the newest diet.  I want to challenge us all to be aware of the time we are spending reading diet posts, challenges, researching and more.

Don’t let your goal of being healthy become unhealthy.  Let’s realize that our worth comes from WHO WE ARE and who God created us to be.-not the size of our clothes or the number on a scale.

Take the time to find balance and freedom…..You are worth it!