This is how I feel every time I complete a workout or make a better choice with my nutrition.
It's so easy to look at ourselves and see how far we have yet to go to reach our health goals instead of seeing the progress we've already made. I'm not certain why that is, but it sure does seem easier to see what needs improvement than to stop and remember that every good choice is getting us closer to where we want to be.
One of the best choices I ever made was to be a part of these challenges. Many of you may not be aware of my back story (some of you do) so I'm going to share it in hopes that it may help someone else.
As a child I was active. I loved swimming, biking, running around with the neighbor kids and playing until it was dark. I always wanted to be fast! If we were rollerskating (oh, yeah...80s kid here) I was speeding around the rink and weaving between people (yeah...sorry I was "that" kid). If challenged to a foot race I pumped my short little legs as hard as I could to keep up and hopefully pass whomever I was racing.
In 3rd grade though "average" in size, I started seeing other girls and believing they were prettier or better than me because they were slimmer. I don't know that I can even pinpoint where that idea came from. Who knows, it could've been magazines, tv, my mother's dieting...it's all over the place. Anyway, by 5th grade I was already vowing to refrain from chocolates or whatever I'd heard might not be good for me and swore go on a "diet" just about every other week. (hmm... sound familiar anyone?...) Not that I actually knew what a "diet" really was. I just thought it was not eating chocolate. Seriously, that was about as effective as...well, let's face it...that's never effective and certainly wasn't necessary at that age or size. But somehow, I didn't realize that.
By the time I entered Junior High I was still a pretty normal sized kid and loved to be active...then my world kind of caved in on me. My family was in turmoil and I was given information that at 12 years old I had no skills to process. I didn't understand how to react, what to do, what to think, how to move forward... Unfortunately, my parents were not ones to "talk" about...well, anything and my friends were too immature to have a clue about what I was going through emotionally. I, without even realizing it until later, turned to food. I literally stuffed my emotions...in my face, withdrew from the world and gained a LOT of weight. I did this for a couple of years then one day I went for a walk. That walk led to a short run and then a long run and before I knew it I was running an hour a day, tried out for the high school soccer team and decided I wanted to live in the world again. Those long runs helped give me time to think (this was still before them fancy ipods so all I had were my thoughts) about what I wanted in my life and how I could get it.
I went to college, married and had kids...and moved...a lot... enter postpartum depression, weight gain, general laziness and insulin resistance. Yay! *that's sarcasm... Anyway, after being diagnosed with insulin resistance I decided I had enough! I started exercising again, but didn't really know what I was doing and wasted a lot of time doing everything half heartedly. Sure, I exercised 3 times a week for 30 minutes a day...how come after a month I wasn't losing weight? Oh yeah...did I forget to mention that I was addicted to SUGAR (ate desserts pretty much every single day) and my workouts were...okay, I'll admit it...they were lame.
Here's a few photos of me close to my heaviest weight. I don't have any at my heaviest because I was too embarassed to be photographed.
Then...I began building healthy habits through participating in and hosting this Lifetime Wellness Challenge and after some seriously hard WORK, I have been able to...
run a half marathon despite an...
Emergency Appendectomy (3 wks post-op)
ridiculously cold weather conditions and
first marathon event post attack at the Boston Marathon
I've even earned my first medal for doing something other than just finishing!
2nd place in my age division in the Scenic River Classic 10K
Miraculously, I completed my very first triathlon on Saturday!!!
So getting back the point...I may not have the exact body I want. My arms may still be flabby, waist wide...blah, blah, blah...but you know what I DO HAVE? Determination. Endurance. Confidence. And a growing ability to see what I HAVE accomplished and what I will continue to strive to accomplish. And guess what...it can't (and shouldn't) be compared to anyone else's anything. And don't compare yourself to me either! Your goals will not necessarily be my goals.
I NEVER would have imagined that I would be a part of something so amazing. The Lifetime Wellness Challenge is JUST what I need and love. No stupid fads. Just good ol' common sense, support and accountability and a whole lotta hard work! I'm so grateful to be a part of the journeys of so many. I'm continually inspired to be better as you each make positive choices toward good health.
I'm so truly excited for the upcoming challenge and can't wait to continue to follow your success along the way. If you're not aready signed up and ready for positive changes in your life, do it! It can be so fun and so rewarding if you're ready to put in the effort!