By Kim Dolan Leto
All photos of Kim are by Eva Simon except the one handed push up by James Patrick.
Listen to the podcast interview with Kim Dolan Leto produced in partnership with Tory Ismir and the Divine Wellness Academy.
Start with how you see yourself.
Is what you think about yourself God’s truth about you?
“You’re too old, it’s too late, and your best days are behind you!” As a new mom approaching 40, this negative soundtrack repeated in my thoughts.
It was a pivotal time in my life. I needed to strengthen myself spiritually, get back into shape and rediscover my purpose.
But I felt lost. I had lost my passion for working out and dieting felt like an emotional rollercoaster. I found myself going through the motions, without success, until I made one big change.
I surrendered my food, fitness and future to God.
Turning to Him was my last resort, but it should have been the first place I went. Focusing my healthy lifestyle on Him and His purposes for my life versus what my body looks like gave me the lasting motivation and the sufficient strength I needed to continue on and find lasting success.
Food was a big struggle for me, so I created the acronym, S.A.F.E., Surrender Appetite Faithfully Everyday, to gain control over my appetite. I committed to my F.I.T. Power Hour and asked God to use me, my life, and my experiences; even the not so perfect parts to help other people get healthy, fit and find their worth too.
Time with God
Time in prayer, gratitude and journaling
Faith & Fitness Magazine readers: use promo code FAITHANDFITNESS5 to receive $5 off Kim Dolan Leto’s F.I.T. Program
If your ‘inner me’ seems more like an enemy, begin to shower the negativity with prayer and the truth of who God says you are.
I once had a client who wanted to drop fifteen pounds. It had been her desire for years, and when she came to me I knew she needed a different approach. Even with the best diet and training plan she didn’t believe she could do it. She had the “how to,” but she couldn’t seem to shake her old way of thinking about herself and what she was capable of. One day she said, “I’m a quitter. I never finish anything.” And there was the problem. As it turned out, the weight wasn’t the issue. My client saw herself as a failure, and that is why she wasn’t succeeding.
If a house is divided against itself that house cannot stand. – Mark 3:25
Your body hears and is deeply affected by everything you say. We’re physical, emotional, and spiritual beings, so all three aspects of us need to be committed to the same mission.
- Do your words encourage and affirm your goals?
- Do you refer to yourself in parts—negatively focusing on your body?
- Do you talk failure and expect success?
- Do you build yourself up or tear yourself down on a regular basis?
Do you believe you can achieve your goals? God does! But you can’t become who you want to be if you don’t change who you are. Your body will only do what your mind tells it to. You can change everything about your life—the way you eat, how much time you spend working out, and even your job—but if you don’t change your mind-set, you’ll go back to the same old you. Stop your old way of thinking and let this be the time you finish what you start. After all, you’ve got the best training partner. Nothing will give you more power than reflecting on and believing in who you are in Christ.
BECOME YOUR BEST YOU IN HIM
Too often we dwell on our past mistakes and shortcomings. Instead Christ calls us to look forward with passion to Him. Here are six ways we can look forward and set our eyes on the best God has for us:
TURN FROM FEAR AND LOOK FORWARD TO FAITH
Do you have a goal or dream that you’re too afraid to go for? Perhaps someone in your past told you that you weren’t smart enough or good enough and you’ve allowed those words to stay with you all these years, affecting not only your self-esteem but your physical ability to accomplish that task as well. Well, now it’s your choice. You can believe them or start believing what God says about you.
Remember, a failure in the past doesn’t make you a failure. We fail our way to success, and God strengthens us along the way.
Instead of living an unhealthy life because you’re afraid to shop for healthful food or be seen at the gym, tell yourself, God has not given me a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline.
TURN FROM GUILT & SHAME AND LOOK FORWARD TO MERCY & FORGIVENESS
It may not seem like your past sin is affecting your health, but it affects how you see yourself, and if it’s a negative view you’re clinging to, then it’s holding you back. Sin makes us feel unworthy and keeps us from coming to the only one who is truly able to help.
TURN FROM WORRY AND STRESS AND LOOK FORWARD TO PEACE
We need to manage our stress with the Word because anxiety literally wreaks havoc on our hearts by driving up blood pressure. It doesn’t help our weight loss efforts either, as it increases a hormone called cortisol, which is responsible for belly fat. So, give your stress to God and reap the health benefits of living worry free. Look forward to the peace that only God can give you.
TURN FROM COMPARISON AND LOOK FORWARD TO CONFIDENCE
God made us all in His image with different strengths and physical attributes, and He doesn’t make mistakes. Don’t waste time comparing your weight to that of a celebrity you admire, your post-baby body to your sister-in-law’s, your legs to those of the new woman at work, or your proportions to those of your best friend. God knew exactly what He was doing when He created you. You can have confidence in his plan and love for you.
TURN FROM CONFUSION AND LOOK FORWARD TO CLARITY
We don’t just want to set our goals; we want to see them through. But when we continually break self-made promises, it erodes our confidence and breads confusion. Therefore, believe that your honest effort will yield results, even when you haven’t seen them yet. Bind your mindset to peace and confidence rather than confusion and insecurity.
TURN FROM “IT’S TOO LATE” AND LOOK FORWARD TO “GOD WILL DO A NEW THING”
Have you written yourself off? If you’re alive, then God isn’t done with you yet. Did you know there’s a purpose for your life?
These are just a few examples of common themes that can rob us of the life God has planned for us, but you get the idea: don’t die before you’re dead. The past really needs to be in the past. It’s time to go forward with God and believe that, in Him, you can do anything.
We are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. —Ephesians 2:10 nlt
I’m always overwhelmed when I read about how precious we are to God. He says that we are His masterpiece. Doesn’t that amaze you? We need to remind ourselves daily of how special we are to Him. With His strength and guidance, we can believe in faith that He will be with us every step of the way along this journey. One of the simplest things you can do is just look forward to God and believe that He will do a new thing in your life.
SAY YES! ACT ON THE DREAMS GOD HAS GIVEN YOU.
I’ve tackled some arduous goals: competing in fitness, learning gymnastics in my 30s and 40s, creating a fitness DVD, writing a book, speaking, and even being on live TV.
These experiences have taught me how to rely on God, because He is calling us to His plan and purpose, but we need to stay connected to Him or we won’t be emotionally, spiritually and physically strong enough for the journey.
The first time my nervously shaking hands touched my computer to write a book, I battled with thinking, “Who are you to do this?” Spending time for God to spiritually strengthen me enabled me to resist the negative thoughts with this answer, “It’s not who I am, but who He is!”
God wants to use you. You make a difference in so many people’s lives and have a far greater impact than you realize.
- Mission work
- Starting a business, blog or brand
- Volunteering for a cause
Look forward to God and He will empower you. It is God who has given you the talent, so believe in that and go for your goals.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. —Matthew 5:14-16 esv
Don’t cheat yourself and live your life being less than who God created you to be. Start looking forward today!
- Write down your specific health goals and big dreams.
- Use the Internet to access resources, like Faith & Fitness Magazine’s Nutrition Department, that help you to make your favorite foods in a healthy way.
- Register for a fun group exercise class.
- Create a daily win (a small actionable accomplishment).
- Discover your life verse (your go-to verse for inspiration).
- Start an accountability group.
If you’ve been unsuccessful in the past, tell yourself this time is different and ask God for help. Believe in yourself because He does! Don’t let the fear of failure rob you and never discount even the smallest victory.
Change is the answer. Faith is the fuel. And discipline is the vehicle to take you there. Look forward with passion and start your movement.