Last month I encountered an article about Lindsay Fullerman and her vision for integrating fitness and spirituality. As a busy mom of 3 under age 5 and one more on the way, my own personal fitness isn’t always (more realistically, ever) at the top of my list. But after reading the about Lindsay’s own life story and ministry, I felt compelled not only to consider some changes in my own life, but also to share her with all of you readers!
Lindsay, thank you so much for taking time to share with us about your ministry, Fit from Faith Wellness Ministry, as well as your journey in understanding how our bodies were made to glorify God. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how your perspective on exercise, nutrition and body image has grown from your contact with Theology of the Body?
Thanks so much for providing me with the opportunity to share this message, Kate! Growing up I was fascinated by the appearance of fitness models and always desired to look like one because they radiated strength, confidence, independence, and beauty. I was determined to do whatever it took to alter the appearance of my body through diet and exercise at the young age of sixteen.
After six years of competing in fitness model competitions it left me feeling worthless and empty. Through dieting I became obsessed with my body and found my worth in how well I placed in a show, or how I looked for a photo shoot. During this time, I also started to work as a personal trainer and strength and conditioning coach. My approach with clients was always the same – follow a nutrition plan and workout regimen. You’re sure to see results!
I had an “Aha” moment during the Theology of the Body I: a Head and Heart Immersion Course. I was striving to look a certain way but never once stopped to realize my body as a gift nor how the Lord desired my body to look. I failed to acknowledge how sacred my body is and how it is the most precious gift. It was at this moment at TOB I realized that I could never help a client in the same way. I needed to shift my perspective with health and wellness and live by example so that I could be a sincere gift of self to my clients.
We weren’t made to follow a restrictive diet plan. Our bodies were not created for others to idolize, and the body certainly was not created for ourselves to glorify. The body was created for God, by God as an expression of His love. Our bodies are sacred temples that house the living God and fueling them nutritiously is our duty.
The Lord eventually shifted my mentality with my approach towards health and wellness from the head to heart. Thus, I created Fit from Faith (www.fitfromfaith.com) and my journey truly began. I no longer felt called to give clients a restrictive nutrition plan and workout regimen. This new approach shifted to a permanent spirit led lifestyle transformation that integrates all parts of the human being resulting in transformation in mind (emotional wellness), body (nutrition and exercise), and spirit (relationship with the Lord) — not just body. In order to fully live as Christ calls us to, we must be balanced in mind, body, and spirit in order to be fit instruments for the Lord’s Kingdom on earth.
Through working with seminarians, clergy, and lay people I’ve come to realize that transformation in mind, body, and spirit is not easy. At the first sight of resistance, we want to run the other way and give into our flesh. Yet, if we surrender ourselves completely to the Lord and allow him to take over while moving through the resistance, we are capable of achieving a balanced lifestyle and making it a habit. We must be willing to open and receive the Lord’s grace and see our bodies as a gift no matter the current state.
Can you share with us your understanding of the need to unify our mind, body and spirit when it comes to our overall fitness and health. Why is it important to find a balance between all three, rather than focusing on one over the others?
There is such a need to unify the mind, body, and spirit especially as it pertains to health and wellness. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states that “it is the whole human person that is intended to become, in the body of Christ, a temple of the Holy Spirit,” (CCC 364). Meaning, the whole person is not simply the mind, or just the body. The whole human person is mind, body, spirit as one. When we are balanced in all three of these areas, we are living as whole persons as Christ calls us to live. If we focus too much on our bodies, we risk falling into the sin of vanity and leaving God (spirit) out of our lives. If we focus too much on the mind and our intellect, we risk ignoring our physical health and how the Holy Spirit is working in our lives. It’s also dangerous to focus too much on the spirit. We can focus too heavily on the spirit and fall into a narrow way of thinking. In a way, thinking, “Jesus loves me just as I am – therefore; I don’t need to workout and eat healthy.”
As moms, our bodies are often not our own. What kind of advice would you offer to moms who struggle with their present body state or self esteem regarding their body image?
*laughs* None of our bodies are our own! Mothers are some of the most beautiful people on this earth because of their selflessness to sacrifice their own lives in order to raise children. For the moms who struggle with their current physical state, have compassion for yourself and let go of your idea of physical beauty. You are a daughter of God, his beloved. He is already pleased with you just as is. I am reminded of two scripture verses. The first, Psalm 45:11, “Let the King be enthralled by your beauty, honor him, for he is your Lord.” The second, from the book of Isaiah 43:4, “You are precious in my eyes and honored, and I love you.” Meditating on the two verses and really allowing them to sink into the depths of your heart can transform the way one view’s herself. It’s not about pleasing the outside world and listening to secular culture. It’s about turning to truth (aka scripture) to what our King says about us.
I strongly encourage a deepening of their personal relationship with our Blessed Mother Mary. She is the ultimate model for mothers all over the world and truly embodies strength, modesty, motherly instinct, godliness, humbleness, trust, perseverance, and beauty among many other traits. Cultivating a devotion to her through consecrating one’s self to her can start to form that relationship with not only her, but a deeper appreciation for one’s own beauty and uniqueness.
As a fitness and nutrition coach, what are some of the most common struggles you see in your clients and how do you help them to overcome them?
As a coach, two of the most common struggles I see with my clients is the lack of belief they have in themselves to transform and the struggle to detach from unhealthy nutrition habits. As baptized Catholics, the Lord has given us the power of the Holy Spirit to take on anything that comes our way. One of the main items that I tackle with my clients is changing their mindset and cultivating that “I can do this with the help of Christ” belief through changing current habits. It’s NOT about giving a client a “diet” to follow. Fit from Faith is about changing habits. We do this by focusing small, and on ONE habit at a time. In the long run this is what creates a lifestyle change because habits are achieved through daily consistent practice – and we’re not supposed to be perfect at this. Diets are merely short term, with expectations of perfection, and always have an ending.
What is your vision for the future of Fit from Faith and how can people become involved?
There is a lot in store for the future of Fit from Faith! Currently, I am developing Wellness initiatives based on growing in virtue and habit change for lasting lifestyle results. You can find out more about the current programs offered by checking out fitfromfaith.com. I’m on a mission to get the Catholics of this world healthy, and well. Stay tuned to the website, podcasts, and newsletter for more info – there are many more new initiatives being developed. It’s an exciting time!
Are there any additional thoughts or comments you would like to share with our readers?
I pray that this message will inspire people to take control of their health in mind, body, and spirit while appreciating the masculine or feminine physical beauty that God has blessed them with. Prayers to the Catholicmom readers and bloggers!
I found Lindsay’s perspective to be fresh, grounded and honest. If we can’t see our bodies as good creations of God, how are we supposed to believe that we are indeed made in the image of God? But, I’m glad she doesn’t let us off the hook either. Just because we were created good and beautiful doesn’t mean we don’t have a responsibility to both ourselves and to God to maintain our bodies through healthy nutrition, exercise habits and quality rest. If you are looking for new ways to improve your self-esteem, eating habits or exercise ideas, I highly recommend you check Lindsay and her ministry, Fit from Faith. Thanks again to Lindsay for taking the time to share with all of us!
Copyright 2016 Kate Taliaferro