Through stories, humor, and dozens of practical tips, It Began in the Garden will help you learn how to: 

  • Make small daily changes for big impact 
  • Release the blame and shame that have kept you stuck 
  • Have a ”good enough” relationship with food 
  • Embrace life beyond the scale 
  • Live at peace with your body

It Began In the Garden

INTRODUCTION (SNEAK PEEK!)

The world of nutrition and fitness is confusing. A quick scroll through your social media accounts or television channels is proof. We aren’t lacking expert advice or celebrities promising a once-and-for-all weight loss solution. Dozens and dozens of products and plans promise success. Advertisements, infomercials, and stories of trusted friends barrage us with options. And lots and lots of noise.

The side effect is confusion. Paralysis. We don’t know what to do or who to believe, so we do nothing. Or we try, fail, and become even more discouraged that yet another plan didn’t work. We blame ourselves for our lack of willpower or self-control. Or we berate the program for being too hard or too complicated. We remain frustrated and discouraged.

This is not another one of those weight loss plans disguised as a book. Inside these pages,you won’t find the magic pill to shed pounds quickly once and for all. This book has no formulas to follow, meal plans to build, calories to count, or points to track. I don’t believe in a one-size-fits-all nutrition or exercise program. There is no mathematical calculation for success. If that’s what you’re looking for, this book isn’t for you.

I understand your desire for a once-and-for-all solution. I get it. I’ve battled the weight loss rollercoaster, too. I still fight body image issues. And I struggle with depression and anxiety at times. In search of a fix, I’ve even become a certified nutrition and fitness coach to try to figure it all out. Honestly, sometimes I’m just as confused and frustrated as you.

But I’ve learned some lessons along the way. I’ve discovered some common challenges we face and methods to overcome them. As a master’s level counselor, nutrition coach, life coach, and exercise professional, I’ve been fortunate tohelp hundreds of people make healthy life changes. These changes didn’t happen overnight though. It wasn’t a quick fix solution. But with patience and practice they got unstuck.

They lose weight.

They eat better.

They work out smarter.

They sleep better.

They are less stressed.

They believe in themselves again.

Just like you, they wanted a healthier future. They knew they needed to make some changes to make that happen, so they went to work applying many of the methods you’ll learn in this book. If that sounds like the kind of life you want to live, then this book is for you.

Everyone is unique. We have different metabolisms, hormones, and predispositions toward disease. We are different ages, genders, and ethnicities. Add in lifestyle choices like jobs, family, social commitments, church, and sports, and we’ve got a recipe for uncommon ground. All of it impacts our quality of life and the time we dedicate to our health.

Despite our uniqueness, however, we also share some common struggles around food and fitness. Around life in general really. We’ve probably all wondered at times if there’s something wrong with us when we can’t exercise consistently or eat the things we know are good for our bodies. We’ve been struggling with this for a long, long time.

In truth, we were destined for this fight. We didn’t have a choice. Way back in the very beginning, Earth’s original inhabitants, Adam and Eve, did have a choice. And they didn’t make a very good one. With their not-so-great decision about a piece of fruit came the struggle we continue to fight today. We carry the pain and consequences of the baggage they left for us. They wrote the opening line of a story we can’t rewrite. That’s the bad news.

But there’s good news, too. Though we can’t change the beginning, we can write the rest of the story. We’ve been given the opening sentence of chapter one. That’s it. We can choose a different middle and ending. Even if we haven’t written an ideal story so far or made great choices to this point, there’s still time to write the rest. We can still write a better story.

So, if you’re ready to write a new story of better health through simple, practical changes, keep reading. If you’re ready and willing to look at food and exercise differently, through the lens of a familiar story that happened long, long ago in a beautiful garden, this is for you. You will be encouraged and equipped to make practical changes in your day-to-day life. And more importantly, connect to why it matters.

Warning. You may drop a size along the way or see the number on that scale finally move. You may see some improvements to your inner health, too. Better choices lead to better health. Small changes lead to a better future. A better story.

Each chapter in this book is a lesson. Weaving the Biblical story of Adam and Eve throughout the chapters, we will see how one choice about a piece of fruit impacted the health battle we have today. We will look at what went wrong and how we can fall into the same choices today unless we choose differently. Though we can’t undo that first, fateful decision in the garden or escape the consequences, we can learn from it and move toward a better choice. Be forewarned that the appeal, the desire, to follow in their footsteps is strong. The whisper of the serpent is very real. We make a choice to respond to or ignore his voice in favor of God’s voice of Truth. Every single day. One decision at a time.

Using examples from both my personal and professional experience, we’ll take a closer look at desire, temptation, choices, shame, and blame and how each impacts our choices about food and exercise. You will be encouraged with small, practical steps to make better choices than our garden-dwelling, fig-leaf-wearing ancestors did. You will have take-away principles and practical steps to reclaim your health. Not all at once. But little by little with time and practice.

I’m suggesting a few options to fully digest this book. Choose the one that will uniquely work for you, knowing your learning style, lifestyle, and reading preference. Or use a hybrid of these options to help you meet your own personal goals.

  1. Read this from cover-to-cover, at your own pace. Each chapter has an application section at the end of the book that you can use as you like. Grab a notebook and think through the questions, writing them down for your own personal growth.
  2. Recruit a friend to read this book with you. Pick a chapter a week to discuss together and hold each other accountable for making healthy life changes. Life is better when it’s shared.
  3. Use this book as a small group study. As you make your way through the chaptersweek by week, gather together to discuss the weekly topic and support each other in your quest to live a life of health.

Whichever option you choose, when you are finished reading this book, you will be equipped with tools for change. The small, incremental decisions and daily choices you start practicing create a ripple that, over time, becomes a gigantic tidal wave of change. What you do today impacts your tomorrow. And the next day. And the next day. So, are you ready to choose today?

Your future is waiting. And the rest of the story begins now.

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