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Phyllis Ward
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"I am God's temple! Yes!"


Phyllis Ward: I Am God's Temple

By Jennifer E. Jones Producer – Freeport, The Bahamas – Most weight loss New Year’s resolutions are long gone by February. I spoke with fitness expert and personal trainer Phyllis Ward on the Girl's Get-A-Way cruise, and she shared how to stay on the right track.

Jennifer E. Jones: How did you get into fitness training?

Phyllis Ward: You get to that point where you’re in this honeymoon period with God, and you’re just soaking up what God blesses you with. Finally you say, “What can I do for You, God?” God calls us from where we are to do something. There are so many Christian women who put themselves on the back burner. That’s my passion to say to Christian women, “You’re important. Let’s take care of ourselves. This is the only body we’re going to have” -- instead of getting to the point where you’re sick.

Jones: You talk about how many events in the body of Christ center around food. You said, “Every thing is an ice-cream social.” How can a woman honor her body and still be a part of this culture that says, “Let’s go eat”?

Ward: It’s important to know that you have choices. We love to go to buffets after church, and there are a lot of choices. You have to say, “No. I’m going to do this for me. It doesn’t matter. You go ahead and eat that if you want.” I don’t mean in a self-righteous way. If this is important to you, go ahead and do it and do not worry about what other people think.

Jones: What are some of the things that you tell your clients about making excuses?

Ward: It’s a case-by-case basis. People gain weight for different reasons. It’s not a lack of education. I could probably ask any woman what are two good sources of protein, and they know it. It’s important to ask people, “What happened?” My first appointment with someone is to get their background, and they start telling their story of how they got there. That’s what I want to know. How did you get off track?

Jones: How do you feel that fitness ties into glorifying God?

Ward: We’re called to be good stewards of the bodies that God has blessed us with. It’s so wonderful when you have your health. If you had a beautiful church, are you going to defile it? Of course not! Our bodies are the temple of God.

Jones: Many of us eat food for pleasure and believe it’s a joy in our lives. What do you say to the person who loves to eat but still wants to be healthy?

Ward: That’s a temporary thing. That’s an instant-gratification attitude. Anything that you want in life, you have to work for it. Grace and mercy are the easy parts when we get our salvation. We can’t just turn around and go back to the same things. Repent means, “Forgive me,” and walk away from it. We have to develop those habits that say, “Is it worth it to have that other cheesecake?” Which do you want: do you want the temporary or do you want the long-range and the feel-good energy? It’s about creating those feelings again of how good it feels when we exercise.

Jones: Talk to me a little bit about the positive statements -- the good things that people can tell themselves that affect them not only physically but emotionally and spiritually.

Ward: I do this on the treadmill a lot; I get bored. So I go to my positive power statements and Scriptures. As I’m running, I’m thinking of what I want to look like, what my goal is for the day, for the month. If you link up those positive power statements, you always say them in the present tense. Your mind doesn’t know the difference. “I’m lean. I’m fit. I’m healthy. I’m strong. I am God’s temple. Yes!” It’s not that you’re going to change instantaneously. Not even thinking about it, it becomes so real and important to you. You start taking on those habits.

Jones: Some people believe that diets mean they have to throw everything out of their kitchen and eat all new foods. Are there smaller steps for those of us who are slower on the fitness track?

Ward: If you have that all-or-none attitude, that works for some. It’s better to make small changes. You might have oatmeal instead of Fruit Loops for breakfast. Add fruit to your lunch. Have brown rice rather than white rice. Diet Coke may be better than a regular Coke. Those are the small things that are going to make a difference. If you do those little things, it’s easy to transition into the big. It’s always better to make a lifestyle change.

Jones: What is the one thing you always want people to leave with after training with you?

Ward: You’re not alone in anything you ever take on. You can’t do anything by yourself. That’s when you need the support of other people. That’s what I try to impart to other people: “You’re not alone. I’m gonna help you through this. We can pray together. You can tell me all about it. You don’t have to do this on your own.” That’s the reason we go to God, because we can’t do it on our own.  

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