Friday, May 30, 2014

Stick With It!

When it comes to losing weight and making a lifestyle change, it can occasionally get discouraging or mundane or like you are doing the same thing day in, day out, week after week, month after month.  Maybe you are feeling better and seeing changes and maybe you aren't, but the one thing I can say is to just....STICK WITH IT! 

I know it can be easy to want to give up and not go on if your body doesn't respond and perform the way you want it to. I went through this several times. My body would do well for a period of time and then decide to fight me a bit. It can be frustrating but in my own way I have come to realize that really, my body was just wanting to see how hard I was going to work, how dedicated I was, and if I mentally had what it took to push through the wall of a 2 or 3 week no-progress phase and keep going. It's like my body needed to be tested to see if I was up for the challenge. In every instance (and believe me, when you have a lot of weight to lose and what seems like a long road ahead) when I would just believe in myself a little bit more than the day before and continue to press forward, without fail, I always came off the plateau feeling like I had conquered yet another hard aspect of making it a lifestyle change that was going to last forever. Each time I would bump up against those type of walls in the future, it made it all that much easier to make it over the hump. 

The other area of concern that I have seen or been asked about is if after losing say half or 3/4 the amount of weight I was working on losing, did I feel like I wanted to relax a bit more? Give myself a little more slack per say. Nope, for me that has never been an issue. I, personally, am a very driven person and so once my mind was set and I had decided to do this, I was in 100%. Whatever it took, I was going to do it and do it right. I had worked too hard and learned too many wonderful strategies to want to allow myself anything less than the best. I felt like I deserved that. My body and mind deserved that.  The same applies for anyone asking themselves those questions too. Your body deserves you at 100%.

If you have a long way to go like I did, it will take time to reprogram the brain that this is a forever thing, not just a temporary fix to get you to your goal and then it's back to your old ways. That type of thinking will never work. It never worked for me and trust me, I know and attempted it several times before getting it right. What I do know is that even though it's hard, and sometimes we feel inadequate, drained, and like we can't go any further and just need a break, even for a week or two....Just. Keep. Going! Stick with it! What we decide to do with our actions and what we tell the brain we can and can't do weighs heavy on our success in the end. I know it's sometimes easier said than done, but in the end, I know you can stick with it and do it. You are much stronger than you think. 

Here's to a great weekend ahead for all of us! 

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Get Healthy for Him

I was running on the treadmill at the gym last night.  I had my ear buds in and was listening to music when I glanced down at the 4-way TV that sits in the main, open part of the gym.  On the screen were the words:  “Get healthy for Him.” Now, I’m sure there are a number of ways you could look at this statement. I don’t even know what the advertisement was for, but I assume it was for something probably totally worldly and meant something along the lines of getting in shape for your spouse or the man in your life. For me it wasn’t that at all.
I’m not trying to push religion on you as I totally respect there are many out there who have their own ideas about religion, but since this is my personal blog, a place where I write my thoughts and experiences in regards to my own journey, for me it was a statement about getting healthy for the one who made it possible for me to even be here - God, the one who created this world we are blessed to live in. 
I know I have mentioned it before in previous posts but I oftentimes will reflect back and marvel at the human body as a whole. I feel like it’s a gift that is given to each one of us and it’s our job and responsibility to take care of it. I’m a firm believer that God doesn’t ever give us things He doesn’t know we are capable of overcoming. I know for me I was a slow learner on this one. In fact, for so many years of my life I think I was angry at the fact that I was fat. I would think things like, “Why did God give me a fat body and slow metabolism? What’s up with my families genetics? I’ll always be big!” 
It wasn’t until a few years ago, on a little hike, on a small mountain in Washington, that I realized that this was just part of the test for me. We’re all dealt a deck of cards. I call them the cards of our life. They may represent different things for each one of us. One of mine included overcoming obesity. Others that don’t pertain to me but might relate to someone else are cards consisting of things like, overcoming a terminal illness, not overcoming a terminal illness, family tragedy, will I get married?, will I ever have children?, will I be able to afford to go to college?, will I have grandchildren?, diabetes, heart disease, and the list can go on……
The bottom line is that no matter what cards are in the deck we are dealt, it is up to us to make the most of what we’ve been given so we can be successful in playing our cards right. Nobody can deal with it for us. Sure, we can have awesome support (Believe me, I have!) and people cheering us on, but when it comes down to it, no one can do the work for us but ourselves. Honestly, that is why my relationship with God has become so intimate over the past several years. I’ve always been a religious person but this was different. I had a lot to work through, a lot of healing to do, and I had to start to put my trust in something I had never believed in before…ME! Instead of being angry at God for the body I was given, I had to first apologize for the many years of self-destruction and putting the blame on food and others. I had to relinquish my anger towards Him in giving me this body in the first place, and learn that He loved and adored me from the beginning and wants only what is best for me. That together, He and I can work as a team and be successful in molding my body into what I wanted it to become. 
Life is definitely a journey, but I believe with the right people in your path, and you working towards becoming the best you know you can be, all things are possible. 

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Everyone Has a Story

We were driving through Park City this past weekend as we were in Utah for a National Dance Competition for my daughter. We were stopped at a stoplight when a very morbidly obese man made his way across the street. As I watched him walk my heart was torn in many ways. I felt for him. Even though I was never quite in the same situation he is currently facing, I was still obese and knew the feeling of being trapped and hopeless in my own body. The way he walked looked painful. I could only imagine the chaffing and body sores he must have in different areas of his body due to large amounts of skin rubbing against each other as he tried to move. I watched as the other people on the sidewalk watched him walk past and the look on their faces was almost that of them making fun of him. I wanted to roll down my window and yell at them but I refrained. In the same moment I wanted to roll down my window and tell this young man how proud I was of him. Yes, I am proud of a morbidly obese man I saw walking the streets of Park City! Why? Because everyone has a story and we don’t know his. Maybe he used to be heavier and he was out on his daily walk and has already lost 20,30, or even 50 pounds. Yay for him. And if he hasn’t, he’s still making a difference in his day by getting out there and walking.
I think we can all say we are guilty of looking at someone and making judgments or thoughts when we probably shouldn’t. I know I am not exempt when it comes to this. In fact, for a long time when I would go to the gym I would see one of the trainers who was definitely not “fit” in any way and I often wondered if that bothered her or even her clients? In my mind, I was thinking if I was a new person attending the gym and needing to find a trainer, I’d be looking for someone who I  had faith and confidence in. Someone who mirrored a healthy lifestyle. They certainly wouldn’t have to have a beach body by any means but just someone who I could tell worked on living the kind of lifestyle I was training to achieve. Makes sense right?  Well, after months of watching her work with clients and seeming  sweet and nice no less, I decided that she really is good at what she does. She is encouraging, you can tell her clients like her, and most of all, they still kept coming back week after week, month after month. Then one day while running on the treadmill I decided I had no place to assume  anything about her because I didn’t know her story. That has become my new mantra with people. For all I know she could been 300+ pounds a few years back and wow, look at her now, she looks great! See we didn’t know her story.
The same goes for even myself. I’m sure if a total stranger met me or even someone at the gym layed eyes on me, they could assume that I could stand to lose another 10-15+ pounds or be more fit than I am but did they know me at 278 pounds? Do they know how far I have already come? Do they know my story?
The body is an amazing thing. Even when it is big and obese it can do more than we think it can. And as we progress towards getting healthier, it will continue to surprise us with all the things it is capable of. Whether you are just starting your journey or consider yourself a work in progress, we all have a story and that I am grateful for. May you continue to press forward believing you can do anything you put your mind to. And who cares what others think, right? They don’t know your story.


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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Positive Affirmations

Isn’t it ironic that we are our own worst critics? It’s been nearly 4 years since I changed my life and learned how to eat to live, and I still catch myself at times not being very nice to me. The truth of the matter is that we become what we think and say about ourselves. It’s just one of those facts in life, whether we want to believe it or not. 
For instance, if you are constantly telling yourself (like I did for many years of my life) that you have a weight problem because it’s genetics and several people in your family have this problem, then that is the person you will become. That is what you will always believe and  if the time ever comes in your life where you are trying to combat those thoughts, it will take an awful lot of convincing and work to help the brain to think otherwise. 
The good news is that this can also work just as effectively when constantly reminding ourselves of what a blessing it is to have the body that we have and start appreciating all the wonderful things it can do, even if we aren’t yet where we want to be. I know from my own experience that when I figured out how to be a cheerleader and actively encourage my body as it was changing, I had great success. I saw results, I saw progression, I saw what I have become today. 
This is what I have on my mirror in my bathroom this week. Yep, I like to write myself little notes, whether on my bathroom mirror, on a sticky note at work, in the car, or wherever it may be. The more I remind myself of what I am capable of, the more I surprise myself and continue on as I still struggle from time to time on this journey I now call maintenance. Positive affirmations make me feel good. They push me to keep going. They challenge me and help me want to be the best I know how to be! 
What are some of the things you have said to yourself lately? Are they positive? I promise that positive affirmations do work. You just have to invest yourself in them just like anything else important in your life. 

Happy thinking! You're worth it!

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