Today, we’re hosting Kim Dolan Leto, writer, speaker and fitness expert. Kim recently released her new book, “10 Steps to Your F.I.T. (Faith Inspired Transformation),” so she’s joining us to discuss all things faith and fitness. Plus, Kim has generously offered to gift one of you with a copy of her book (details below!).
Name: Kim Dolan Leto
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
You are the author of F.I.T. Faith Inspired Transformation. How did you first make the connection between faith and fitness?
Struggling with my weight and experiencing failures with quick fix diets, I found myself making an idol out of my body. The scale and how I felt in my clothes was determining my happiness. I knew this was wrong.
One day at church I prayed to God to forgive me and help me, and He did. I saw the torturous cycle of living in what the world thought I should look like could do, so I went where I should have gone first – to the Word. Since that day at church, I am committed to doing my health with God and I have come up with tips like this acronym for eating: S.A.F.E. Surrender Appetite Faithfully Everyday.
In your book, you list 10 steps to a Faith Inspired Transformation. If you had to choose only three of the steps (which is totally difficult, I know), which three would you focus on and why?
No. 1 is the groundwork for making the shift from dieting to doing your health with God: there are no more quick fix schemes – this is a God honoring system of making choice that are well-balanced.
No. 2 is where the inside out transformation really happens by uncovering wrong thinking patterns and exchanging them for the truth of who you are in Christ.
No. 3 is the daily application of living out your health with God through what I call creating your F.I.T. Power Hour; time in the word and prayer, time in exercise and time alone.
You also write in your book about not wanting your body to become your idol. Can you tell us more about this?
In our society many people work so hard to achieve a “look” they forget to have a life. Being a slave to what you look like, what the scale says and what people think is a trap straight from hell.
When God isn’t first, you’re always trying to find something to fill the emptiness in you. But nothing will ever be enough, because there isn’t good enough, thin enough, or pretty enough. The quest for perfection is a lie the devil tells us that what God made isn’t good enough. We are all good enough in Christ – right now!
As someone who has struggled with her weight, I know firsthand how hard it is to start create healthy habits. And in a world of fad diets, fitness and health tends to be more of a roller coaster than a lifestyle. What advice would you give to someone who wants to make a permanent change in her life, but doesn’t know where to start?
The best place to start is in the word of God. So many people eat for comfort, stress and the CDC shows that 85% of diseases are emotionally based. We are eating our feelings. The answer: go to God not food.
Some of us need to acknowledge that there isn’t a permanent answer to health in a quick fix diet. And the cycle of extreme diet weight loss and subsequent weight gain contributes greatly to being overweight. Stop the cycle and get healthy through making the right choices by making it your lifestyle.
Eat God-made not man-made foods, discover the restaurants in your area that have healthy organic foods and learn to cook all the foods you love in a healthy way. Living healthy is as easy as throwing raw nuts in your purse for a healthy snack and taking a 20-minute walk during lunch.
As a mother of a little girl, what do you hope your daughter learns from you and carries with her for the rest of her life?
That her identity is in Christ, nothing else…not a man, not the way she looks, not what she does for a living. No! I want her to know at any given moment and in every situation – she is enough, she is loved and she is whole.
What is your favorite passage/verse/story from the Bible? Why?
I have many, but the one that speaks to my current situation and I’ve been holding onto is Isaiah 41:10 “So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
Writing a faith and fitness book is not a popular message, but I refuse to allow my fear override my purpose. I know there are other women out there like me who struggle with their weight and love Jesus and want to know how God can help them with their health journey. Being bold is scary, but I need to share that you can combine your faith with your fitness just like finances, marriage and parenting are done in our churches – health can be too!
What does a set-apart young woman look like to you?
She knows who she is in Christ. She isn’t defined by the world, her value is found in the word. She knows her purpose and relies fully on God.
What advice do you have for young women who are struggling with their weight and/or body image?
Get in the word of God and get a revelation of who you are in Christ, so you can clearly know and embrace that God made you on purpose for a purpose and God doesn’t make any mistakes. Refuse to define yourself by what you look like, the body part you want to change or a number on the scale, you are a fearfully and wonderfully made child of God.
What is something God is currently teaching you?
God is teaching me that I don’t need to have all the answers, but I do have to take the next step…and the next one…in faith.
If you could tell your 18-year-old self something, what would it be?
I would tell myself to not be afraid to fail, because I’ve learned that success at anything comes with a lot of failure first.