When I was in college, I confessed to my roommates a trick I had for staying motivated while working out. I sang the theme song from Rocky in my head.

I’m not talking about Eye of the Tiger, either. I’m talking about Gonna Fly Now, a mostly instrumental anthem that actually only has three words (Gonna. Fly. Now.). This cheesy tune from the 80s was my high school’s fight song, and after growing up hearing it played by the band every Friday night of the fall, it got me all fired up.

Or at least pushed me hard enough to finish a 10-minute session on the rowing machine.

Don’t feel bad if you’re laughing at me right now. My roommates laughed at me then – and still think it’s funny to tease me about it ten many years later.

The mocking doesn’t really bother me because I know that my ability to coach myself through difficult times (yes, I’m including exercise in that category) is a good thing. I’ve worked hard to maintain healthy self talk, and encouraging myself is sometimes just as important as encouraging others.

Over the years I’ve gotten pretty good at thinking and saying, “You can do this. It’s going to happen this time. This is your semester/project/job/year.”

And when I say those things, I believe them. I do. Mostly.

————————————–

A few weeks ago I sat in my first Weight Watchers meeting of the year. The topic of the day’s discussion was “believe.” Our leader asked what we believe about weight loss and the program.

As I sat there I nodded and even offered a couple comments to the conversation. Of course I believe this program works. And I know that if I follow the program, I’ll lose weight. But later that day, as those words rattled around my brain, I started wondering. Do I really believe that I can do this?

My question wasn’t about the program; it was about me. I realized that for all my positive talk, I didn’t really believe that I could lose weight. Before I knew it, my thoughts changed, pummeling me with doubt and disbelief:

It’s not like this was my first attempt. Do I really think it’s going to work this time? I’ve been trying to do this my entire life. And while it worked once or twice, it never lasted. What’s so different this year? I’m not good at this. It is my biggest struggle. It’s Just. So. Hard.

————————————–

Before I go too far down that rabbit hole, I remember. I remember what Jesus told his disciples: “Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20)

Just a mustard seed – that’s all it takes. When I was growing up, my mom had a jar of those little yellow beads sitting on our windowsill. They really are very small! Surely I could find that much faith.

Then I spotted it: a tiny, foggy ray of hope. I grabbed onto that hope, and I held on with all I have. Maybe . . . just maybe . . . I can do this.

Yes, I do believe. Sometimes it’s hard. Sometimes I just barely believe. But sometimes, “just barely” is enough. It’s enough for me to answer, with confidence this time, “Yes, I believe.”

What do you need or want to believe today? Can you find just a mustard seed of faith?

This post wasn’t sponsored by Weight Watchers :) It’s just a small example of big places in our lives where we need to get better at believing change can happen.

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  1. 1

    I think we are in a crisis of unbelief. Somehow our nation when from people who believed God enough to risk their lives in a new country to people who offer God a plan B and C when we pray, just in case he doesn’t come through for our Plan A.

    It’s time to change that! I believe God! I choose to believe his promises over my life, my broken marriage, and my suffering children. Praise Him, for it is already done!

  2. 3

    Since 2009 I have lost 45 pounds. I’m plateauing now, but no less determined to lose weight. I began with Weight Watchers, but stopped shortly after because I was always hungry. I created a lifestyle change that would suit me for the rest of my life because I didn’t want to give up the stuff of life I enjoyed, but made a trade off, like instead of a venti Caramal Machiatto during the week I went to a grande and used nonfat milk. Never regretted it. I love veggies, too, and yogurt and granola. It’s not so bad this lifestyle change. You can do it, too! Keep at it and remember…this is not temporary…it’s forever. With that in mind, it’s easier to keep at it. Word to the wise: use dessert plates instead of dinner plates when you eat.

  3. 4

    I want to believe that God has a particular man picked out for me and he is just waiting for the absolute right time to put him in my life. I want to believe that the person he has currently talking to me is someone that a great friendship and possibly a great relationship will blossom from allowing me to say the first statement has come true! I love the verse in the Bible that simply states…’help my unbelief’…sorry I can’t remember where its from in the Bible. God knows I struggle everyday with letting go of my own control to him. I am much better at it than I used to be but it is a daily struggle!

    • 5

      “Help me in my undbelief…” I think we all like this one. I have struggled with control for as long as I can remember and I watch sympathetically as my daughters struggle with this same issue. I think it is called being human.
      My eating and sleeping habits all boil down to an issue of control.
      May God bless us in our struggle. May God reveal His plan to us as we give control over to Him.

  4. 6

    Wow, great way of putting it for exactly the thing the thing I’ve been battling. Now, that I am inspired and believe I’m going to google the NEW rocky song :)

  5. 7

    Barely believing is enough! Yes. I believe that. Because barely believing IS believing. The Holy Spirit will grow that mustard seed to enormous proportions if seek Him and not fill our minds with weed seeds. You CAN do it, Mary. I believe it!

  6. 8
    Natasha d says:

    I needed that!! Thank you! I am also reading the “Made to Crave” devotional and am really enjoying it right now! Your post would fit nicely into the book!!

  7. 9

    Oh, I want to believe that God is going to take care of all my needs, even when it looks so impossible right now. I know He is providing for me. He always keeps His promises, and one of those is that He loves me and will take care of me.

    Apropos Weight Watchers, I started a weight loss program with my naturopathic physician, and I’ve lost 64.6 pounds so far :) :) :) Motivation is important, that’s for sure :)

    Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  8. 10
    Karen G says:

    Mary, I know this article is not about Weight Watchers, but I did want to tell you how God has blessed me while on Weight Watchers online. I’ve dropped almost 40 lbs in less than a year and am almost at my goal weight. I feel better and know I’m healthier than I’ve ever been. Two things that may also help. Don’t “lose” the weight because you always have to find whatever you lose. Instead “drop” the weight because you don’t have to pick up something you drop (like trash in the garbage can). Also, consider this a “lifestyle modification” rather than a diet. The word diet has such bad vibes because you hear about so many diets failing.

    Lots of prayer when your hungry helps too! It may sound silly, but I feel my relationship with God has become stronger through this as I praised and thanked God every step of the way!

    • 11
      Gena Rene Kelley says:

      Kareen G…I agree with your ‘dropping’ weight.
      I feel so much more able to bend over now if I in fact have to pick something
      up…down 50 pounds with 33 to go…I joined WW online Aug 4, 2011.

  9. 12

    “Feed your faith and fear will starve to death,” someone once said…. I was once left with the tiniest shred of faith (like a mustard seed) and find that it is true, to just focus on your faith and it will grow into hope, perhaps you become stronger and wiser.
    … Me too! Have started a new health regimen (mine is Curves) and know how good it is to remember to take care of ourselves from inside to out, it’s all part of the ‘recipe’ for being stronger and having more faith, patience, love and support for ourselves and others.

  10. 13

    Believing and having my faith has got me through some difficult times in my life. I have also praised and rejoiced during the good times. Faith will carry you always :)

  11. 14

    Love this post so much because because I think faith and struggles like weight can really go hand in hand! I joined ww last may and have lost 50lbs and reached my Lifetime goal last week. I never thought I could do it and really had to finally believe in myself and trust in Him to know I truly could do it! Good luck and don’t give up, it really does work!

    • 15
      Gena Rene Kelley says:

      Congreatulations on reaching your lifetime goal. I am aiming at mine…2/3rd there.

  12. 16

    an area of construction in my life right now is prayer. and praying with BELIEF. i just finished reading The Heavenly Man by and about Brother Yun, a Chinese missionary. blown. away. why in the world do i notpray with belief????

  13. 17

    I loved this. Love it all the more because I’m just at the beginning of buckling down and trying this {again}. It’s HARD to believe sometimes. Thank you for the reminder to just look for the mustard seed and let that grow.

  14. 18

    I love this post. It is a daily struggle when you aren’t seeing the results you hope for. My husband and I have been trying to start a family for quite a while now, it’s so hard month after month to face the disappointment. I have taught for 12 years, taken care of so many needy kids, is it possible God won’t provide me a family of my own? How can it be? I just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and believe that God has the best plan for me, but it sure it hard.

  15. 19

    It all goes hand in hand for me. I’m a WW believer who struggles. I’m a Christian who struggles. I struggle with keeping that self talk going and believing in the power that is mine to claim in Christ. There is so much encouragement to be found in places like this when we reach out for each other. We face the same challenges each day.

  16. 20

    I think this is obviously about far more than weight loss, but I will comment on weight loss. Every morning I wake up and say this is the day that I stop drinking diet soda and eating sweets. And every day I fail. I guess that is my mountain. I need to have more faith in myself. I am my own mountain.

    • 21
      Gena Rene Kelley says:

      I started by drinking flavored waters—it is the carbonation we get hooked on I think. Thought I would never stop drinking diet Mtn Dew. And yet the last few months I have only had a few carbonated drinks–I was on a road trip. I now re-use those 33 oz bottles and fill them with water and SF drink stix….a lot cheaper.
      Maybe not better than plain water but long way fderom where I started. And after about 2 months on WW I noticed that now yogurt tastes sweet to me instead of sour!! I no longer eat sweets all day long.
      It all has to start with baby steps…one step at a time.
      I believe ALL of US are our own mountain….and all we have to do is tell that mountain to get out of our way. (song I heard sung by Richard Roberts)

  17. 22

    It is kind of like memorizing scripture, you really think you have it, until you need to recite it, then you doubt yourself.

    I love a teaching I had once, that we need Christ to accomplish anything, including faith.

  18. 23

    My husband and I both are now on WW Online and after a month of supporting each, we have each lost 13 pounds! We do BELIEVE we can do…and we will! :) Thanks for your post…very uplifting and encouraging!

  19. 24

    Like you, I can totally relate to all of the failed diets in the past…. along with other struggles such as my teenage daughter dying from cancer, and 8 years of daily migraines making it hard to function, let alone exercise.

    All this, the LORD has used to draw me closer and closer to Him in a way I wouldn’t have if my world wouldn’t had crashed in all around me.

    I just turned 40 at the beginning of this year, and the LORD has been doing a huge work in me regarding my health. A couple of documentaries on netflix have been life changing, and I feel like for the first time in my life I an on the road to being truly healthy. God is so good…. He restores and I an so thankful. The pounds are falling off and I don’t have daily pain. I’m starting to feel so good that I even want to exercise (before I would be down for days after a workout, like it did more damage than good and my body couldn’t recooperate). The best part is that it is simply between God and me, nobody making a profit….

    Because its the LORDs strength, rather than my willpower, or lack there of, I know this is truly a new beginning for me and I am so thankful!

  20. 25

    Like you, I can totally relate to all of the failed diets in the past…. along with other struggles such as my teenage daughter dying from cancer, and 8 years of daily migraines making it hard to function, let alone exercise.

    All this, the LORD has used to draw me closer and closer to Him in a way I wouldn’t have if my world wouldn’t had crashed in all around me.

    I just turned 40 at the beginning of this year, and the LORD has been doing a huge work in me regarding my health. A couple of documentaries on netflix have been life changing, and I feel like for the first time in my life I an on the road to being truly healthy. God is so good…. He restores and I an so thankful. The pounds are falling off and I don’t have daily pain. I’m starting to feel so good that I even want to exercise (before I would be down for days after a workout, like it did more damage than good and my body couldn’t recooperate).

    Because its the LORDs strength, rather than my willpower, or lack there of, I know this is truly a new beginning for me and I am so thankful!

  21. 26
    Beth Williams says:

    Mary,

    First of all–I belive that you can lose the weight–with God ALL THINGS are possible! I’m praying for strength as you strive to reach this goal!

    I believe that God has a bigger/better job in store for me down the road–where & when not sure. Just believing and taking Him on faith!

  22. 27

    I want to believe that God will provide me with what I need to homeschool my children. I had a major crisis yesterday after a brief chat with a family member. It caused this huge dagger of self-doubt and fear to be plunged through my heart. I want to believe that God will provide me with a husband who is able to support me in this decision. I want to believe that God will help me in practical, real ways. I so need his help desperately.

    I am struggling to have that mustard seed faith today….

  23. 28
    Gena Rene Kelley says:

    I too always thought I will always and forever be fat.
    But on July 31st, 2011…I got up and decided that I was not going to continue
    that path any longer. By Aug 4th I had lost 4 pounds and joined Weight Watchers Online(our closest meeting 50+ miles away). It was the right time and the right path for me. Finally. To date I have lost 50 pounds and am 2/3rds of the way to my first goal. When I reach that 83 pound loss, I will re-evaluate where I go from there. Or will I maintain. And here I am at the young age of 60….just now feeling like I have gotten on the correct path!

  24. 30

    I believe that the Lord will help me with my desire to lose 30 lbs. That is is healthy weight. I started working out in the gym last year, lost 20 lbs but gained back the 10 lbs because I like to eat. I eat when I am happy, sad, stressed. I finally signed up with WW because their process is the most healthy way of weight loss. I am believing God that I will make it this time. It will be a gradual change but I know I will get there with the Lord. :)

  25. 31
    Glennis Boyd says:

    YES!!!!!!!
    Just what I needed today! THANK YOU THANK you THANK YOU
    Great words of timely advice….now to apply and …..YES I believe!…Thanks for making it applicable! Excellent writing!
    Glennis

  26. 32
    Glennis Boyd says:

    P.S….I used to sing Marcia Hines…..”.Go On Girl You can make it! It’s only life there’s nothing to it! Its just not seeing through it from the outside….”.When I was struggling at Nursing.
    Just now I m needing smaller baby steps and the seeds analogy has really helped!! xox

  27. 33

    I need to believe that I can beat my OCD!

  28. 34
    Mandy Jury says:

    I believe that the workforce will want me after staying home for a few {or more} years.

  29. 35

    i had to go and put it on and listen to the tune while i read this e mail. i realized reading it that i don’t really believe in myself. thank you for the words of encouragement and faith. i hope they will help me find the way.

  30. 36

    Mary, You are a talented writer. I enjoyed your post on (in)courage so much, I hopped on over to your blog, read a while and signed on as a follower. I am also a blogger but haven’t been inspired to write for the past year. I must tell you about the program I am on. For the first time in my life, regarding my weight and health, I BELIEVE!! I am a life time WW member from way back. I lost the weight, maintained for three years and then I gained it back with lots more. In the last two years, I joined WW three different times, joined the gym and went religiously, worked out on machines, did Zumba, aerobics and body fitness class. Nothing was working for my belly fat. In January, I started searching for a natural product and found it. It is so amazing, I promise. Email me and I will share everything, I ran out of room here. :)

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