Thursday, July 17, 2014

Inspiring Others

Did you know that even if you are in the beginning phases of your journey or if you are new to getting healthy, you're going to be an inspiration to others?  Did you notice how I didn't say you "You can be in an inspiration" but a "You will be an inspiration." I've learned it's just one of the parts about this whole thing that has blessed me and continues to bless my life. 

When I first starting blogging about my journey it was something I chose to do to go back and relive some of those experiences, thoughts, and feelings as I hadn't documented along the way and felt like I hadn't enjoyed the process. I needed to be in the trenches again so I could feel the emotions of it and in the end have it help me continue to be successful.

I learned that even from the start I had people cheering me on and reminding me how strong I was. As the weight trickled off, little by little, I realized that even though I was far from where I wanted to be, my actions and motivation for taking on the project of "finding the new me" was inspiring others. It really was a hard concept to grasp and even now from time to time I tend to struggle with the idea. I mean, living as heavy as I was for as long as I did, clearly is not inspiring to people seeking after a healthier lifestyle. So, to change gears and train my brain to think differently was a real eye opener. 

Just a couple weeks ago I was able to meet one of the gals who reads my blog for lunch. She had contacted me several months ago and we have corresponded some, so while my husband and I were traveling I was able to make the time to visit with her. What a treat! It really was a special thing to sit down and talk with virtually, a total stranger and just listen and learn of how much my story has blessed her life.  I love more than anything the feeling of paying-it-forward. I hadn't done anything special or out of the norm to have brought us together other than sharing my story, my struggles, and keeping it real. And even though I am not a professional when it comes to fitness and health, we were able to bounce ideas off each other and I was able to share with her tips and things that worked for me during various parts of my journey. I remember getting in my car afterwards and as I drove away felt so overwhelmed with joy. Joy that something that brought me years of struggle and disappointment, had now brought me peace, happiness, and more importantly, a new friend. 

So with that, meet my new friend Teresa....

Never underestimate the power you have to influence someone else regardless of where you are in your journey. I'm not indicating everyone needs to write a blog.  It can mean even keeping a journal or sharing your thoughts and progression with a small network of people. When more people know about what is going on and can be a support to you, the more you will naturally inspire them and together it can be key to your success. 

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Overcoming the Fear

This is a topic that I think we all can relate to in one way or another, whether it has to do with living a healthy lifestyle of weight loss and being successful at it or something as simple as being afraid of heights. I'm only mentioning these two because they both have either been a part of my life in the past or are still somewhat of a fear I am currently dealing with. 

When I first even had the inclination that I wanted to try to get healthy and lose some of the weight I was carrying around, I had no idea what that would look like. I was scared my body wouldn't respond. I was scared of the unknown. I didn't know what to do or even how to do it, and I was even scared with the thought that I wouldn't be able to stick with it. Like I said, I had no clear picture of anything that lied ahead and when I thought of my body looking different and being lighter, my brain when to mush. It was fear. What is the opposite of fear? Faith. I had no faith in myself that I could become better. (Just typing that out makes me sad.)
(I had already lost 40 pounds when this picture was taken.)

 When did that change? It was baby steps. The more I saw a little bit of progress, the more I believed in myself. Instead of jumping my thoughts way ahead to the end and what I hoped things were going to be like, I kept it small. I kept it real. Looking ahead, believing with faith that I was going to reach my next goal, whatever it may be. The more faith I deposited into my baby steps, the more I trusted in God to help me, the further I went, eventually reaching my goals. Kinda like a bank account. The more deposits of faith and "I can do this" statements I added to my account, the better off I was going to be, especially when hit with a rough patch or a plateau. In the end, I had trained my brain to believe I could do anything I put my mind to. 
I tell you this because just this last week, I started to work on yet another fear of mine - heights! I know, sounds crazy coming from the girl who loves to hike mountains, but it's true. I guess I am used to hiking mountains in Washington, where things are lush and green and trees everywhere and you really don't realize you are going up until you reach the top and have a beautiful view of the world below. Not to mention, there are usually plenty of surroundings on each side of you to make you feel safe, even when at the top. This past week our kids were gone at a church retreat for the week so my husband and I decided to do some hiking. He's a big-time backpacker, hiker and loves the outdoors. We decided to hike up Mt. Timpanogos. It's in Utah between Salt Lake City and Provo, about 6 hours from where we live. We had heard many wonderful things about this hike so we were excited to make the trip. The trail itself is beautiful. 
Very well traveled, lots of flowers, waterfalls, wild mountain goats, and things to see on the way up. I was in heaven.

Once we hit an open meadow area, there weren't many trees anymore and nothing but the tip of the mountain way off in the distance. 
(We had already hiked 4 miles by the time we reached the meadow. Up to the right is the "saddle" then you hike up and around the back to get to the top. It was another good 3.5 miles.)

From there is when I started to get uneasy. We had to cross over a few snowfields that were not exactly flat, so no falling or slipping was allowed. 
Then once we got up to what was called the saddle of the mountain, that is where I was pretty sure I wasn't going any further. Literally, a small narrow trail that dropped straight off the mountian. No gradual decline down the side just a straight drop.
(This was taken up on the saddle with the meadow down below to the left.)

(This would be what the trail looks like most of the time getting up the rest of the way. Yep, like I said...straight down! No edge of any kind.)

I kept thinking to myself, "And they say people don't die on this mountain? They say Timp is very safe to hike?" I couldn't believe it! I hiked up to camp Muir on Mt. Rainier last year and this had no comparison. Rainier was a piece of cake compared to this.
(This was the view from the saddle with still 3 miles to climb.)

We took a break for a few minutes and then Steve was very sweet about asking me how I felt and if I wanted to go on. He said he would be fine if we turned back if that is what I wanted to do. In some ways I was done, but in other ways I wanted to get to the top. I came this far, I wanted to make it. It was one of those moments where I sat there on that mountain filled with emotion that my body was even capable of getting as far as it did. It wouldn't have even been able to barely leave the parking lot a few years ago. I then had the thought of fear and what I had to do to overcome the fear of being successful on my weight loss journey. Baby steps came into my head. I was going to take baby steps to the top. Or at least give it a try. I had decided even if I got part of the way, it was a start, and I would feel much better about trying and having faith, rather than giving up and running from fear. Needless to say we made it to the top, little by little, scaling the side of the mountain at a couple points where rocks fell for miles below.

(This is for real folks! Scaling the side of the mountain at a few spots. I was not smiling by the way. I think I was moaning or something.)

I even announced I was done more than once but then something in me wanted to keep going. I was shaking, I was nervous, all the things that were probably not a good combination when climbing up the side of a mountain that had nothing but drop-offs and the city below to catch me. Steve even had to slow down as the altitude was giving him a headache.  I'll never forget the feeling of accomplishment when reaching the little white shack that sits on the top of the mountain.
 I felt like I was on top of the world and could do anything I put my mind and heart to. Whether it was losing weight and getting healthy or climbing 15 scary miles over a 10 hour period, I was reminded again that I am capable of anything.

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