At the beginning of this year, January 2012, I had committed myself to a lifestyle change that I knew would be very challenging and demanding. I was optimistically excited but very, ummm...., very....unsure of my own ability to really do what I had made up my mind to do. Seven or eight years ago, I wouldn't have balked at this decision. I would have bowed out my chest and said, "bring it on!".
Let's face it. The "weight loss" challenge is exactly that. A challenge. So, let's add some extra baby weight to that and oh, just a few extra years from when you were "really in shape" and you no longer just have a "challenge". You have impossibility, or so it seems.
We all want that quick fat burn where 50 pounds drop in 2 days. Hello fat girl on Monday. Hello skinny girl on Wednesday. Yep. That's a dream. What's the website for that weight loss pill again? Can you tell me one more time the name of your weight loss doctor? We live in a time when we want everything NOW. We don't have time to wait. I want what I want when I want it and I want it right this minute. That's our mentality. And that has been my mentality for the last three and a half years since I had my little girl. I want to lose "x" pounds and I want to lose it in like three months. Come on! Is that too much to ask for?! Well, realistically, yes it is!
After facing some health issues in August last year, I hit a season of being very depressed with my overall health. I felt like my body was in an all out attack against me and I was powerless to overcome it. I had surgery in September and expected to be pain-free once my body had healed from surgery. Unfortunately, that wasn't the case. I endured three more months of pain with little relief. Can I be honest and tell you that this was not a very pretty place for me? I was beginning to feel defeated. Lie after lie after lie would bombard my mind, consistently. And I believed them.
I felt prompted in late November, early December to go back to my doctor and have her check things out one more time. After my checkup, she was still questioning why/how I could still be in so much pain. She decided to prescribe me a strong antibiotic to rule out any infection and if that didn't seem to help, we'd re-evaluate. I sauntered out of her office with a prescription and still no answers. I was frustrated. Exhausted. Spent. Ready to give up the fight. Throw in the towel. If this is how my body wants to behave then fine. I don't care.
See. I told you it wasn't a pretty place. But praise God, I have a Father who loves me SO much, He will lovingly rebuke me, reassure me, encourage me, push me on and renew my mind. Not only did He realign my mental state but He also reached down and touched my physical body. I prayed that God would use the antibiotic and that it would work. Prayed for it to clear up ANYTHING that should not be in there. And then I waited. And I trusted. And it worked. One week, two weeks, three weeks passed with a drastic decline in pain. Hallelujah!!! I, literally, felt like I had just been given a new body. It was like my new lease on life....in a way. :o)
With this sense of hurdling over a major health obstacle, I knew things needed to change. I needed to take care of the temple God had given me. It was no longer about a weight loss goal. Yes, I do still have a number in mind, but its not what I'm striving for. My goal is simply to live a healthier lifestyle; making healthier choices when it comes to what I eat and what I do to my body. This way, I don't get caught up in a number. I focus on a daily decision. Did I choose a healthy option today over a bad one? Did I exercise today? If the answer is yes, then I've already accomplished my daily goal. If the answer is no, then I haven't fallen from an insurmountable height; I simply didn't move a step forward. I can try again tomorrow.
With all of that being said, I kicked off my lifestyle change in January of this year. I started counting calories and exercising. I don't have a personal trainer. I have a gym membership that I NEVER use. I am a wife, mother, full time employee, weekend photographer, church member, daughter, sister, friend and so forth. I have no more extra time in a day than anyone else. I had to MAKE priorities. I had to make up my mind what this lifestyle change would look like and consist of before I ever started it. I had to have something in writing. I had Jordan take some awful, humiliating pictures of me so I could see what I looked like when I started. After seeing those pictures, I had to apologize to my husband and ask him to forgive me for looking this way and not taking better care of myself for him. He's never loved me less or thought less of me but I knew my husband deserved my best and this was NOT it. I took measurements so I could track my progress.
My church has small group semesters and the first small group semester of the year would be kicking off in just a few weeks. I decided I wanted to get involved in some sort of fitness small group this time. I felt it would keep me motivated at least one day of the week and I knew I wouldn't drop out within the 13 week semester and I would have some accountability. Some amazing girlfriends of mine were actually leading a small group called Highlands Dance Workout. I felt comfortable with these ladies as leaders so I signed my happy little self up. I don't dance. I have no rhythm. I am not coordinated. So this seemed like the most ridiculous small group of choice but I was up for the challenge. Let me just say, it was the best decision ever! It took me a few weeks to get the moves down but I'm hanging with everyone and have felt the improvement week by week.
Along with my Thursday night small group workout, I've also incorporated running, P90X and Insanity into my workout regimen. It has been T.O.U.G.H.! But I am loving them all!!!
When we had our first small group class, I had lost 13 pounds. I shared that with Summer, one of the leaders, just because Summer is cool like that and ALWAYS full of praise and encouragement....I just love her! ;o) Summer also won't hesistate to ask you to share something praiseworthy with the group if you feel comfortable! :op After sharing my weight loss victory with her, she asked if I would mind sharing that with the group. I'm not crowd-shy so I agreed. I wasn't sure of the direction to take with it because it only needed to be a few minutes in length. I was at lunch one day and used my handy little "Notes" option on my iPhone to jot down some stuff that I had actually started implementing myself at the first of the year. It turned into something lengthy so I just typed it up and emailed it to Summer and told her she could do whatever she felt led to do with it as far as sharing it with the group. I just shared with the class a brief overview of my weight loss and encouraged everyone to keep at it and they would see results. Summer ended up printing copies of my little "Encouragement" notes for everyone to have.
I thought it would be fun to share on here in case anyone reading this needs a little encouragement in their own weight loss journey. I'm thrilled to share that, since January, I have lost 23 pounds!! It wasn't by a pill, a vitamin, a weekly injection of B12 or any other super-pseudo scientific method. It has simply been by a lot of self-discipline with my eating habits, exercise and some serious prayer for God to sustain me and help me take care of what He's entrusted to me. I am 3 pounds shy of reaching my pre-baby weight and I couldn't be more excited about this whole journey!!! It's been A LOT of work and not a lot of sleep but the rewards have been amazing and I feel great! Every step made in the direction of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is worth celebrating. I have a lot of celebrating to do and more to come! I hope the "Encouragement" notes below will be an "encouragement" to you....no matter what journey you're on right now.
~ Encouragement ~
Like most things we deal with & face, 99.9% of the battle is in our minds. This year I have been determined to win the battle. I am calling the shots this year & making my body submit to what I say it can/can't, should or shouldn't do. It's been SO empowering!!!
This is my encouragement to you:
Take 1 step closer to your goal weight every day...just like we aim to do with our relationship with Jesus; just taking one step closer each day.
Recognize your setbacks...I call them "my walls". First, try to avoid them but if you can't, be determined to plow through them.
Small steps that can help you reach your goal:
1. Make a healthy food choice every day. Example - pick the grilled chicken sandwich instead of the spicy chicken sandwich with pepper jack cheese! :)
2. Know how many calories you need to be consuming each day & then KNOW how many calories you are eating at every meal. There are apps to help! "My Fitness Pal" is my favorite.
3. Plan your meals in advance so you don't make an impulsive decision that isn't good for you and that you will regret afterwards.
4. Avoid fast food if you can help it. If its inevitable, only choose from the healthier options (even if it's not what you really feel like eating!). Your conscience (and the scale) will thank you later!!
5. Make the choice to turn off the tv, get up & do some type of workout, even if it's after the kids go to bed and it's 8:30/9:00 at night!
6. Make the choice to not snack after supper or to not eat after 8pm.
7. Believe in yourself! Believe that you are worth investing in & that you CAN reach your goal!
Remember - the battle's in your mind! You want to lose weight more than you want that Krispy Kreme Hot Now donut!! :)
What is the time it's going to take to become a healthier you, taking care of the temple God's given you compared to the # of years you've spent overweight, unhealthy & dissatisfied with yourself?! It will be a lot of work but that time will fly by and before you know it you'll be able to see the results you've wanted and feel so proud of yourself and your accomplishments! Go after it!!
If you need motivation daily or weekly, write your goals down - write the vision & make it plain! Habakkuk 2:2, right?! :o)
Write down the steps you need to take to achieve your goals.
Take pictures of yourself & measurements. Yes, this part hurts but it can be the BEST motivation. Update those pictures & measurements each month. See the improvements & keep pushing yourself to do better each month.
YOU CAN DO IT!!! God is for you & He's cheering you on too!!
If you are a part of this group and you're at a healthy & happy weight, we applaud you! Set it in your minds now to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It's always easier to maintain your weight than it is to lose it. Never stop taking care of your temple!
And just to end this post with something cute to look at, here's a picture of my sweet girl!!