I’m excited to share the stories of a few of my friends during this series. Today you’ll hear from Karina Allen.
Why did you start your fitness journey?
Growing up in New Orleans was challenging as it related to food. Our food is ridiculously good! Most things are smothered, covered, fried or deep fried. That is how I ate everyday. If it wasn’t that, it was white and processed and loaded with sugar and high fructose corn syrup. I am always surprised that I was never 600 pounds. When I was a kid, I was pretty active as most kids are. As I got older, I tried to stay active but my eating habits didn’t change.
About 4 years ago, I topped the scales at 225 pounds. I was so uncomfortable in my skin. I didn’t like what I saw in the mirror. And I knew somewhere inside of me, that how I was living was not God’s best for me. I had a friend who Instagrammed the My Fitness Pal app and I immediately downloaded it. Counting my calories, being observant of what I ate and how much I ate and increasing my workouts really jump started my weight loss.
I then discovered sites like Tone It Up, Beachbody, Clare Smith, Delight Gluten Free, Against All Grain and Kate Battistelli among many others. I have lost 45 pounds so far and have about 40 more to go. I have had successes, plateaus and set backs, but God has been with me every step of the way.
How has God worked on your heart as you’ve worked on your body?
What hasn’t He done? So, I was super tiny up until puberty and then I filled out in all the places! That was hard. I was never super insecure but I just rarely felt comfortable in my body. I also seem to always be surrounded by pretty, thin people. That, too, was hard. The Lord has set me free from comparison and insecurity and not feeling worthy. I honestly don’t want to be thinner for thinner’s sake. I want to be healthy. As I train my body, I train my spirit. It goes hand in hand. God has reminded me over and over that He loves me deeply and unconditionally. My size will never change that. He created me in His image. I want to be an example of how He intended our bodies to function effectively for His glory and our benefit.
What verse helps motivate you?
As I have become more eternally focused, I have been drawn to “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16
That is a big deal! The very manifest presence of the Lord dwells inside of us if we know Christ. That shouldn’t be taken for granted or taken lightly. God has given me the revelation of when we stand before Him on judgment day, we will give an account of all that we said, did, didn’t say or didn’t do. That includes how we treated our temples. This was both a sobering and encouraging thought.
I realized that God had given me responsibility to be a good steward over my body. I decided that I wanted to hear Him say “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” I decided that I didn’t want to intentionally put things into my body that would eventually do me harm or kill me. Mostly, I decided that I wanted to be in amazing shape and live as long as I can in order to build His Kingdom.
Why is it important for you to encourage others in their faith and fitness journey?
Although my journey hasn’t been smooth sailing all of the time, I have found so much freedom and joy in it. Believe it or not, there is joy and freedom in discipline and sacrifice. I want others to experience that. God’s heartbeat for us is that we would be in health, both in our souls and in our bodies. It breaks His heart when we aren’t in good health or have a disease that was brought on by our own choices. He wants us to be strong and a part of His plans to further His Kingdom.
He has grace for us but He wants us to walk in wisdom. Part of walking in wisdom is being diligent in how we take care of our temples. We are a reflection of Him to the world around us. We only get this one life. In Him we live and move and have our being. What we do matters. It matters here. It matters for eternity.
Karina is a devoted follower of Jesus from New Orleans, Louisiana, but has made her home in Baton Rouge for the past 15 years. She spends much of her time leading worship at church, writing, reading, dancing and mentoring the next generation. She has a huge heart for serving and missions. She is an advocate for the local church especially the one that she attends, Healing Place Church. She also enjoys working out, traveling, photography and going to concerts/conferences.
Karina believes that every woman has a God-sized dream on the inside of them and it is up to an encouraging community to help nurture that dream. Her goal in writing is to see women get a revelation of God’s Word and discover how to apply it to their lives in order to walk in freedom and live the life that God intended. But the most important thing to her is to live out the call of Isaiah 26:8…For His Name and His Renown are the desire of our souls! You can connect with her at “For His Name and His Renown.”