I feel like a bird let out of a cage!

My journey with the Lord through the Grace and Strength Lifestyle began in October of 2016. Knowing this, the length of time I spent on the program feels impossibly short. God has been so faithful through the entire process. To Him goes all the glory, honor and praise. What I have achieved is nothing short of a miracle in my eyes.

“I am the Lord you God who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go.” Isaiah 48:11

Like many other women, I have spent most of my life in the throes of self-loathing, comparison to others, and constant dieting. I was always, ALWAYS on the way up or on the way down when it came to my weight. I have tried every diet known to man, some reasonable and some closer to the crash variety, beginning around age 12 when my mom agreed to buy me a pair of designer jeans as a reward for losing 10 lbs. Honestly, I was not even overweight at the time but that was all it took to show me that I could lose weight like a champ. The other end of things, maintaining that loss, was where I struggled constantly. I always had several sizes of clothing in my closet. The shame that came over years of living this way was really more than I could bear. So several years ago, at my highest weight ever, I decided that actually being overweight was much less painful that the shame of gaining weight back. I settled in to being overweight for the rest of my life and for the first time that terrible yo-yoing cycle seemed to be gone. I was not happy with how I looked or how I felt but was able to convince myself that the lack of cycling and striving for something else was enough. Praise God, He had other plans for me.

I actually had a couple of false starts with Grace and Strength. I heard about the program on line and something told me that the lack of God’s presence in all of my previous weight loss efforts could be the answer. After contacting Cyndi and hearing about the program I was convinced and planned to sign my husband and I up immediately. But when I discussed it with him he was not on board. Disappointed, I put the process on hold. God had other plans. Over the coming months He showed me that this was my journey with Him. I would need to do this alone. Perhaps my success would be an inspiration for my husband but nevertheless, the plan was for me and God to set out together. So, after one more false start, I began the program in October.

Honestly, my initial expectations were pretty low. I just planned to get back to what I considered my reasonable adult weight. God had other plans. I LOVED Phase 1 just a little too much but as directed by the program maybe my overindulging to the extreme gave me that added control over hunger. My first two weeks were brutal; headaches, nausea and fatigue. My sisters on the weekly call and my coach were there to support me with a “this too shall pass”. And it did! By week three I was feeling better and soon after that was feeling like I had never felt before. My energy level was high – even my thoughts were clearer! My body began to feel so much better.

Throughout the program I also worked with a coach at my gym on the fitness end of things. He was thoroughly impressed with my progress during every three month check in. The best part of all was the way I was losing lots of fat but very, very little lean muscle. GNS was helping me get my body thin AND healthy again! At the halfway point, my fitness coach gave me a weight equal to the amount I had lost to carry around the gym. I was amazed to realize what my body had been carrying around on a daily basis. This served as further motivation to keep going.

Through it all, God kept working in and through me. I had always wanted to be an early riser but honestly, I love my warm, soft bed just a little too much. I was a habitual snooze alarmer! God had other plans. He knows the dreams and desires of my heart better than I do. Literally overnight He began waking me at 5am (or earlier – He woke me at 4am this morning to type out my testimony). This change in my lifestyle is exactly what I have always wanted but was afraid to even dream possible. I am now an early riser and I love it! The added time in my day allowed me to commit to starting my day with God, giving my day to Him, and asking that He would lead me though each and every challenge. My relationship with Him has been taken to the next level. I am so blessed.

Throughout the program, I can count the times that I honestly cheated on one hand. I never indulged in those things that I considered way out of line (sweets) but rather would have more than recommended protein on days I was really hungry. This discipline came straight from the Lord and I am so grateful for His strength. It felt like an impossibility when I started to get near my goal. Correction: my FIRST goal. At this time my coach started talking with us about asking God to reveal HIS dream for our lives. I had honestly never even considered that God had a dream for MY life. This was a totally new concept for me but I embraced it and began praying fervently; Lord, I don’t want to settle for my dream – I want YOURS. This led me to change my goal twice, settling in at a final goal weight that is close to where I was in high school. I am healthier than I have ever been or dreamt of being. Last week I had my final evaluation at the gym. My body fat percentage, which started at 45%, is now down to 17.7% – I am in the range of an elite athlete? Seriously?? It’s nothing short of a miracle. God TRULY had other plans.

I am so grateful for all of have learned during my Grace and Strength journey. I am now free of the burden of bondage to food and I thank Him daily for this. I eat like a healthy person and enjoy every minute of it. Where I used to crave sweets, I now LOVE blueberries. Where I used to desire thick, creamy food, I now am excited about salads with quinoa. I am changed forever and all of the glory, honor and praise goes to the ONE who set me free. At the end of my final gym session my trainer gave me the total amount of weight lost to carry around. I could hardly even lift it. It was truly astounding. He looked at me and said, “Bonnie, this is amazing. You must feel like a bird let out of a cage”. And I must say…thank you Lord. I truly, truly do. AMEN.

“See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up, do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:1

Within discipline lies our freedom!

~Bonnie


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The Grace and Strength Lifestyle

The Grace & Strength Lifestyle is a Christ Centered Weight Loss Coaching Service.
  • Carol Groninger Hulstine

    Beautiful testimony Bonnie. You look amazing. So happy for you. Love ya! Carol