When I think about the biggest challenges most of us have when we begin something new, I believe the more difficult the new thing is, the more benefit we receive from the new experience. Yah, yah, I could just end here but here's how I started thinking about my recent weight loss journey and why has it taken me so many years to get back to an active lifestyle. Why wasn't the memory of all those accomplishments, the pictures I still have to reflect on and all those clothes in my closet not motivation enough? So many reasons why I should get active but the one I kept listening to instead. It was too hard to start up again now that I am (was) heavier than I had ever been my entire life. That alone is depressing and exhausting. Not just exhausting because it is depressing but my hormones were out of whack, my extra weight has wrecked on my knees and back and I was just too tired to even try. Maybe I'd start up but couldn't keep to it. It had to be a perfect day of eating right and working out or I felt like a looser and would convince myself it was just too hard now that I'm older. Who cares anyway. I'm a Mom and my husband loves me anyway.
That was just it, being a Mom of athletic kids, what a hypocrite to ask them (or yell from the sidelines really) to go all out and push themselves when I had given up on myself. What kind of example is that? I am telling them to never mind what I do but mind what I say. That's dumb. I've read some great books with all the information I need but I still was making excuses. It was easier to continue with the way things were then get up and stop being complacent. I was happy but as long as the kids and hubby were. We all know that Moms make the house work. I was affecting them. Short tempered, grumpy, no energy and worst of all a crappy example of how they should live their adult lives. When I started again, what was the hardest part was now that I weighed over 200 lbs., it was really, really hard to even stand for too long. My knees would kill me, so running, jumping, push ups, those were really challenging. I didn't give up. The Insanity Max 30 videos are designed with an option for modifying low impact moves on a split screen. That really helped me. I had to take a week off after the 3rd week because I was over ambitious the 2nd week trying to do some of the jumping exercises and my knees were done. Before, this would be a reason to stop doing the videos, go back to the elliptical machine until I lost more weight. That would have been ok but I would have started again from video/day 1 and something else may have had me press pause and I would just put the videos away until I lost enough weight to workout to them. This time, I just allowed myself to rest and recover, listen to my body and start up again a week later right where I left off. Success. The motivation I feel now that I completed the program is long lasting. I trusted my self and accomplished a goal. It doesn't matter that I still have more to loose. I am stronger now, my clothes are loose and my knees don't hurt. I can jump and run and feel alive. I just began my second round of the challenge. I am not focusing on the number on the scale but the process. How I can be an example to my children that I will never give up, never settle. I can overcome past mistakes. My family are worth living a long, healthy and happy life for. I am worth it, and so are you! I'm doing this with you.
When I was 18 years old, I found myself looking for a healthier lifestyle. I played sports in high school and wasn't overweight but really never looked at food as fuel for my body. In fact, playing sports made me famished and I ate a lot usually hot fudge cakes after volleyball practice. It was when I stopped playing sports that the eat whatever was in my face lifestyle caught up to me. Now, it is a known fact that my Mom is the best cook in the world. Friends would come over not to visit but to be fed. Delicious homemade Mexican cuisine. She can even make frozen french fries taste better. Probably the extra salt and oil. If you came over she never accepted that you weren't hungry. Even if you just ate, a plate of deliciousness was brought to you and really, you were glad you made room. So now, at 18 years old, I was taking my life into my own hands. I got into so much trouble my teens years and partied really hard so I think I just needed a whole new direction (or maybe it was the court order to go to drug counseling and almost being thrown in juvenile camp. But that's a story for another time) Although in my house, if you didn't have meat on your plate you really hadn't eaten yet, I found myself becoming vegetarian.
I started first cutting back on red meat, then poultry and finally fish. It really became a change in lifestyle. I learned to cook simple dishes. Asian food was easiest. My Mom would first try to pick out the chicken from dishes, which I told her that was like licking the poor creature so she got the idea and did things like stopped adding lard to the beans so it really helped everyone. Veggie products weren't available at supermarkets or restaurants so it really was about preparing your own meals or you ate a plate of steamed vegetables. I was annoying to ask if the vegetable soup had beef or chicken stock, which the waiter usually didn't know and would surprised at the ridiculous question. Ah, but now even Denny's has vegetarian options. Being vegetarian/vegan at that time was like an obsession to me. It was this foreign world that I really liked fitting into. I read PITA pamphlets, stopped wearing leather and had awesome t-shirts and bumper sticker on my car reminding the world that they are eating fear when they eat flesh. I didn't like how people were appalled if I politely refused meat and would go down the litany of foods they couldn't believe I didn't eat. They'd say, "you don't eat bacon, or hamburgers or carne asada?!?!" I would think, no I don't eat pigs or cows or who know what else is in hamburgers. "oh so you just eat fish?" would be the next question. Nope, nothing with eyeball was my best answer. I didn't like being judged for my choices or what I believed in so I eventually took that same approach with my now vegan lifestyle (no leather, no make up and a shaved head. I did wear deodorant and shave though, I promise.).
So years go by and I am married to my carnivorous husband who eats enough meat for both of us. Expecting our first daughter at 23 years old was exciting. What I didn't expect was how family would be uncomfortable that I didn't grow out of my vegan fad and eat meat now that I was expecting. How could I be so selfish? I was going to die and kill the baby for sure. I did so much research and was comfortable with all the research I found. A strange thing did happen, I started craving eggs. I don't really think the smell of eggs is over appealing but there is was, I craved eggs. I thought I would feel weird about eating eggs again but I took it as I needed more protein. So I now eat eggs and some dairy (cutting back on the dairy very much now). I still don't eat meat as now I haven't eaten me for more years than I ate meat. Over half my life I've been meatless. If something makes sense to me, or no longer makes sense, I go with it. I don't over think it, my mind is made up. Of course, if I over think something I'm a mess so I learned to do some research, always listen to my body and now I listen to my soul. What makes sense just does to me. It may not to you because, you have a different perspective due from different experiences an up bringing. I don't want to convince you that what I do is what you should do. I will share my thoughts and let you find your way. Just, be true to yourself and always seek the truth, what make sense to you. For me, my current journey is bringing me back to a healthy lifestyle. But one with plenty of vitality, courage, simplicity and happiness. I lost 40 pounds in 12 weeks doing the Body for Life program when I was in my late twenties, after I was home with my now two toddlers eating to satisfy my lack of self worth (as many overwhelmed young mothers and wives do) I felt amazing. I looked amazing. Hubby and I were so fit. We did 5k's and marathons (ok Mark did multiple marathons, I completed one). I started playing sports I never played before. I even completed a triathlon for a great cause. Then, our third child was born. It came 10 years after our first. There was an 8 year gap between the babies. The stress at the time really made me not feel like I could or really should take any time for myself. Debt, job change for hubby, moving to a larger home, our tenants not paying their rent. It was all too much. I borrowed P90x from a friend and started feeling good again. Dropped some weight but just couldn't sustain it. I learned many years ago, it's really what you eat, the fuel I put into my amazing machine that runs on it's own that matters. I needed fuel. On Body for Life, I had 3 meal replacement shakes. I really needed to stop gorging myself at that time so that worked. But it no longer makes sense to me. I read a few books that just made it click. One is The Gabriel Method by Jon Gabriel and the other is What Are You Hungry For by Deepak Chopra. Changing from the inside out. Not just what you eat but why you choose to eat it. I love sports and really pushing my body to the absolute athletic limits. I feel alive. Everyone is an athlete, by the way. We are built for movement and endurance. Find what makes you want to move. I love dancing and walking. Running is nice when it's scenic. But I love to push hard and sweat. I am a sweater. So is one of my older brothers so if you see us warming up, we are already drenched. It was embarrassing in high school volleyball when I was dripping after the warm up and the other girls make up was still in place. (Why did they wear make up to play anyway. I never knew.) Now, I love that I feel the old me gushing out of my pours. But now, I refuel with just one shake a day. That's all that's needed. Even if I eat a clean meal, I know with all the toxins in our water and soil, I still need some extra supplements. So I drink Shakeology, love how it makes me feel and it is yummy. I work out or get moving at least 5 days a week. I am not looking for a fast drop of weight, I just ADD good stuff to my life and it leaves no room for the bad. In my food, my thoughts, my actions and those who are around me. It just makes sense to me.
I finished pulling out some weeds and bush stumps that my husband, Mark cut down several months prior. I just stared at the jungle it had become and decided I needed to finish the job Mark started. I was just tired of seeing the potential that that space could be but was occupied by things we no longer wanted there. I love physical labor once I get started. It reminds me that I am alive, built strong and love to get my hands dirty. It's probably from seeing my Dad who was a auto mechanic lift very heavy parts and admire his brute strength. At 6ft and possibly 220lbs, that seemed like something he should be able to do. Of course, he had 3 slipped discs in his back and a destroyed shoulder, but never complained just drank his Coors or Budweiser while he snored away in front of the tv at night. My Mom, is maybe 5'2" and I won't disclose her weight since we women can be a bit touchy about that one. She and I, even as a scrawny kid, would rearrange the furniture in the house together. Pretty often as well. I learned to repurpose everything. Talk about recycling and reusing. Turning small tables on their sides to become bookshelves and such. She didn't go so far as to repaint them but that was never the point. We just didn't buy a whole lot of new things. So, rearranging rooms made everything look new again. A new perspective. Of course, a good cleaning would come with that. I still see potential in all things. I love to bring that out and see the transformation. I would dye my hair weekly and cut it in my private salon, the bathroom just because I was bored. So now, Mark and I are slowly figuring out what our backyard wants to become. The job of pulling out the bush stumps seemed daunting so we just left it for another time. Now was the time. I really couldn't just start shoveling the dirt around the bush stumps since all the weeds were in the way. As I starting pulling the larger weeds, I notice they came out much easier than some of the smaller ones. In fact, the smaller ones that were closer to the ground, gave me a really hard time. I thought those would be easier since they look up less space but some of their roots were so deep and wide. Once I cleared enough to dig out some of the bush stumps, I was also surprised at how far stretched some of the roots grew. I'd dig around and hit more roots that connected to the adjacent bush. I had plenty of time, a few hours to be in my head and reflect on all this. Thank you, God for all the lessons you give us in menial tasks and everyday life. I judged the larger weeds and the biggest obstacles, but it was the unassuming ones that gave me the hardest time to get rid of. These are the small things I ignore, like hitting the snooze button too many times and rushing in the morning, procrastinating and putting things off for a better time. The things I think are harder to pull out of my life, like getting out of debt and living a healthy and happy life, these are things that can be changed today. Stop overspending, budget, make better choices. They seem like the big things but once they are tugged a bit, they're no longer a problem. The small ones that I ignored, they are the problems because I don't think they are problems. They are small and don't seem like problems, but changing my thoughts and mindset, that is the way to dig out those stubborn roots. The roots from the bushes that covered such a large area were amazing to see how I just noticed the tops, what was visible. Just like I see you. I only see what you show me. What your leaves are. We all have deep roots, connecting and intertwining to adjacent bushes to build stronger roots. Some good, some bad. But there is always more below the surface than what is shown.
I am clearing my self like I did those old bush stumps and weeds. Getting ready for my potential. I'm so glad to share my journey with you.