Wednesday, February 27, 2008
Reality Show Star Helps Others Survive the Fitness Game
Through a Balance of Spiritual and Physical Discipline
Thirty pounds overweight may not seem like a big deal to some. But for JoAnna Ward, the battle to lose it proved to be as challenging as her competitive experience on “Survivor: Amazon.” But instead of braving the elements and relentless opponents as she did in the 2003 season of the CBS reality show, this time she was in a fight against her own body, will, and spirit.
Now victorious in her battle against the bulge, the 36-year-old Georgia resident is able to share the same principles she used for herself to help others, even if they have a lot more weight to lose. In her fitness devotional, Surviving the Fitness Game, she mixes the natural and spiritual as a sure-fire recipe for successful weight loss.
Ward, who had been athletic all of her life, found herself struggling with a weight challenge due to the stress of going through a divorce in 1996 and returning to a deeper state of single parenthood than she had experienced prior to marrying her son’s father.
But despite her past active life style as a basketball and track participant in high school and basketball star in college she found that losing weight was going to be more difficult than she had imagined.
“I started taking step aerobics … I was exercising sometimes twice a day and still not losing much,” said Ward, now owner/CEO of JoAnna Ward Fitness, Inc., Lithonia, Georgia. “I thought it would be easy because I had been an athlete. I thought other people were just being lazy. But, then someone told me I had to cut my fat grams. In four days I’d lost 13 pounds.”
Today the 5-foot-10 certified aerobic instructor is a svelte and muscular 160 pounds, down from her original 192. She noted that 130 pounds of her weight is muscle, which makes a difference in appearance, since muscle weighs more than fat.
Ward is now fulfilling the prophecy for book-writing that was spoken over her by her mother, friend and prayer partner, the late Dorothy Vassell who died shortly before the taping of “Survivor: Amazon” in 2002. Surviving the Fitness Game is an interactive, 28-day fitness devotional that shows readers how to meet weight loss and fitness goals successfully by first addressing and conquering personal imbalances, strongholds, and other hindrances.
“My book is the first fitness devotional,” Ward said. “You’re clearer once your mind, soul, and spirit are in order. Exercise adds great empowerment to the person as a whole. The Bible talks about being in health as you soul prospers. You need to strengthen your temple.”
Three sisters, who lost a collective 250 pounds in one year, testify to the fact that Ward’s method works. Ward served as their personal trainer in 1999. Through a combination of Scripture, exercise, and healthier eating habits, Darlene, Kamili, and Rasheen Jamison were able to do what they originally thought was impossible.
“We tried (diet pills) but that only lasted for a moment,” said Kamili, 36, who dropped from 306 pounds to 200. “When you try a quick fix it doesn’t work. JoAnna was different. She was concerned about the person. The whole nation needs to know JoAnna and what she stands for. She stands for everything positive. She stands for the person’s well-being.”
Surviving the Fitness Game and its accompanying instructional DVD can be purchased at any Christian bookstore, Target or on www.amazon.com. For more information about JoAnna Ward, visit her website at www.survivingthefitnessgame.com.
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Sunday, February 24, 2008
My story as told in Black Pain by Terrie M. Williams -
After my business (the family business Perry Marketing Group) closed in 2000, I went into a deep depression. I thought I would snap out of it. I kept myself busy and tried to act like things were normal. Though the bankruptcy was humiliating, what was worse was the denial to my spiritual self.
I didn’t give myself time to grieve and express the anger, regret and disappointment I felt.
Consequently, I spiraled into despair. I could not wake up before noon and kept the blinds closed all day. I overate. I avoided friends.
But I did go to church. I put on my “church face” and went. No one knew the depth of my despair – until one day guest minister preached and asked if anyone in the audience felt like they were at the end of their rope and on the verge of suicide. If anyone was, she asked them to come forward so she could pray for them.
I was in such state to denial that I thought to myself, “Surely I can’t embarrass myself and go down there. What would people think?” The Holy Spirit then spoke to my heart and reminded me how much He loved me, and it didn’t matter what other people thought. The minister was sent to get me out of myself and come to JESUS FOR REAL.
I quit the internal debate and ran to the altar. I cried and the minister prayed for me. When I went back to my seat, instead of peculiar stares, I got nothing but hugs and love. That was my breakthrough day. I just needed enough light to see my way at the end of my tunnel, and that day God sent a flashlight looking for me. I’m so glad He did.