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I have been married for 34 for years to my amazing husband and best friend, Randy Alward and am the mother of three grown sons and two daughter-in-laws.

Appreciate

Appreciate

"It’s not who you are that holds you back, It’s who you think you’re not." -Denis Waitley

What’s holding you back from being the best you that you can be?

When I moved up to Oregon from Southern California a few years ago, I used some creative excuses to explain my weight gain (yep, I gained some weight) and my total lack of energy. 

Excuses like:

“I’m an empty nester living in 22 floors up, it rains a lot here and I need comfort food to make up for the fact that I don’t live in the sun anymore” and

It’s too hard for me to exercise:  it takes too much energy to go to the gym in the rain” (Um, wasn’t that what I was supposed to be doing at the gym?)

It continued one night when we were out to dinner with my son and his wife and I was joking, “You know, I think I’ve put on weight because Dad loves comfort food and it’s hard not to enjoy it with him, because I’m just being supportive (or something like that), not to mention the fact that we are living in Portland, the ‘Capital of Comfort Food’.”

My son called me out.

“You can’t blame Dad for what you eat.  You’re responsible for yourself.”

He laughed but, ouch.  That was so true!  I thought about it. 

I had to stop blaming others or blaming my environment for the way I treated myself.  I had to stop making excuses.

All of us can come up with great excuses like “I’m in college and I’m supposed to gain the ‘freshman 15”, “I’m too busy with my job or career, I have no extra time”, “I just had a baby and I am exhausted, overwhelmed and hate my body right now”, “I’m busy taking care of the kids and driving them everywhere” or one of the worst, “I’m too old, I’m approaching middle-age or I’m an empty nester. Who really cares about me?”  I bet all of us have said at least one of these excuses:  I’ve said or thought all of them at different times in my life. 

I love this quote: “When I lost all of my excuses, I found all of my results”.

This is so true.

Our excuses often start with the lies that we’ve been telling ourselves for years.  I had to stop the hurtful pattern of the way I thought about myself.   Some of us need to get rid of the old depressing and completely wrong picture we have in our mind of who we are.

Constantly thinking things like “I feel so fat today, I can’t stop eating junk food, I have no energy to exercise or I will always be fat…”  These are self-fulfilling prophesies about ourselves.  I’ve seen it over and over again with acquaintances and friends: Those who keep complaining about their lack of self-control with eating or their seemingly fat stomachs or thighs seem to struggle with the very area that they always focus on negatively.

I talk about this in the book a lot, but I believe every confession about ourselves will eventually come true if we keep repeating these damaging statements both to ourselves and to others.

            I Corinthians 6:19-20 says “Do you not know your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is within you…You were bought with a price, so then honor and glorify God with your body”. And Ephesians 5:29 tells us “For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church.”  Did you hear that?  God wants us to nourish and cherish our bodies.

No matter how old or young we are.

You, beauty, are an influential person with talents and gifts to share – I am stunned by the number of women that seemingly have it all together, yet at their very core, they don’t understand the unfathomable, limitless miracle that they are. All of us have at least one special gift that separates us from everyone else, just like we each have our very own finger prints. You do. And your body is a gift created in the most beautiful design by God.  The choices you make about how you’re going to treat your body are completely up to you

But more importantly, God created us to be confident enough to love on others, not to be stuck in a perpetual love-hate relationship with our body.

So, how do we change up the way we think about ourselves? For me, it helps to stay in a positive mindset -  I control what I say in my head to myself and to others about myself.  I’m not talking about bragging here - What I speak about myself becomes my motivation to be the healthy energetic woman I want to be.

Things like -

I’m going to take better care of myself and stay positive with my self-talk” or

“Today is a new day to make good choices with my eating” or

“I’m going to walk early tomorrow morning instead of sleeping in, even if it’s only a half hour.” 

I have and still do literally write down positive thoughts and goals and pin them to a board in my laundry room (so I can read them as I’m searching for that random lost sock). Can you think of some positive encouraging things to write down and pin up? 

Philippians 4:8 tells us, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and good and right.  Think about things that are pure and lovely…Think about all you can praise God for and be glad.”  That board of dreams and encouragement helps remind me to keep my thoughts positive.  I encourage you to do the same. 

But, the most supremely important thing you can do is to love yourself (i.e. cherish yourself) even BEFORE you’ve lost the extra 10, 30 or 100 pounds. Or before you fit into your skinny jeans again. Or dare to wear your swimsuit in public while you’re sitting at the neighborhood pool with the kids.

We all need to learn to be grateful and love who we are …

This. Very. Moment.

We are all unique. Every one of us is special in our own way. It is a fact, and a cool and perfect part of God’s creation. You are different. I am different. I mean that in the most flattering way. We have gorgeous flaws. Get used to it. Learn to love your strong and voluptuous thighs and curvy waist or muffin top. Whether you have your mother’s arms or your father’s nose, whether you have been noticing more wrinkles or can’t fit into your favorite party dress anymore, you are the only you that will ever live on this earth, so be grateful for the skin you’re in. You are one of a kind.  Enjoy your energy and vivaciousness.  Enjoy being able to take deep breaths and to laugh, which is one of my favorite things to do. 

Remember Helen Keller?   We can all agree that girl had a lot to complain about physically. 

She famously said, “Instead of comparing our lot with that of those who are more fortunate than we are, we should compare it with the lot of the great majority of our fellow men.  It then appears that we are among the privileged”.

Whoa.  Conviction.

All of us need to come to the place that we are enough.  Stop the self-hatred.  Try more every day to say positive things and think positive things. And choose to love and be grateful for you. You are the best thing around. It’s true.

Appreciate who God made you to be.  

With His love,

CJ Alward

(This blog is an excerpt from my new book to be released in 2018.)

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