Whether you are going it alone or working within some sort of support group, one of the hardest things to do is stay motivated when you would rather not. How we handle those lonely, scared moments in our own heads is often the difference between success and failure.
Even though this blog is new, I am not new to the losing game. As an adult, my first steps toward a healthy life started in 1998 but it took me until 2002 to finally get serious about health and fitness as a lifestyle and not just something I was playing around with.
My misguided youth taught me how to NOT be healthy so my first official act was to learn how to be healthy. My first goal was to “Find Grace in the journey.” I defined “Grace” as learning to love and appreciate my body as well as my success and especially my failures.
Why was this so important for me?
As a teenager I could box squat 227 pounds and run a 7-minute mile but all I could see in the mirror were my “fat” thighs. I never saw the muscles that made both of those things possible. I never appreciated the strength and the stamina it takes to accomplish things my very fit boyfriend could not do.
As an overweight, out-of-shape adult, I found myself wishing I could just go back and kick that little girl’s ass!
As unhealthy as my teenage body image was, my adult feelings about that teenager weren’t much better. My adult conversations with myself about my current body were not kind. After Grace, my next goal was to stop even thinking the word “cow” when I looked in the mirror. I also wanted to at least make friends with my thighs.
Notice I have not mentioned anything about an “ideal” weight or a certain size because in the beginning and for the most part even now I do not have my sights set on numbers. For me, that would be a danger zone. It would set me back to the same “fat” thinking because my body did not conform to a certain standard.
One of the things I know with all the confidence in the world, is I am a non-conformist right down to the very cells in my body. Just yesterday, I described myself as an “outlier” to a new doctor. If you are not familiar with statistics, the outlier is the data which deviates so far from the standard it is eventually dropped from the data set and/or are considered an anomaly. Fortunately, the new doctor appreciated my explanation and promised to figure out why my body behaves the way it does (more about him in another post).
So knowing and accepting my past and knowing and accepting my present also gives me an interesting challenge when it comes to losing weight. To counter, I have had to really get inside my own head and quiet all the logical and rational concerns and fears.
One of my favorite techniques is to pick a person who I know would not let me get away with crap. That person would be the one who would listen to my reasons and excuses and say, “Okay…so what are you going to do about it.”
Right now, my three favorites are Chris Powell, my counselor Jonathan, and my husband who I usually just call hubs. They all are tough but fair and I admire and respect each of them.
When those little voices of doubt or laziness start to creep in I do a little check to make sure they are not valid physical or emotional concerns and then I imagine what they would say to me if we were having a conversation.
Let’s take my knee as a great example of how this works. I have patellar femoralis syndrome in my right knee. The truth is there are braces to help it AND my thighs are physically too big to brace. Of course, each time a doctor or surgeon has mentioned losing weight I become an irrational, crazy lady trying to explain my broken body and of course those learned men just see “fat girl = eats too much” and insists if I stop eating “bad” food the weight will come off. The only thing that comes off is my head spinning in twelve different directions. My hubs witnessed this one day last year and for the first time in my life someone outside of me said, “I believe you.”
This is my reality. As much as I think all those doctors are total jerks and my husband is wonderful, I still have to function within this experience and without letting it bring me down.
On a day when my knee is flaring up, I close my eyes and think about that day. My hubs’ big, strong arms help but I also need more. That is when I need Chris.
On season three Chris had Bob Brenner on the show and if you saw it you know he started with ACL problems in one knee and tore the other knee while on the show. He kept going. Partially because he is a warrior but also because Chris used his creativity to figure out what Bob could do.
I am a warrior.
I am creative.
I can close my eyes and imagine myself telling Chris how much my knee hurts and every, single, damned time do you know what I see and hear back? “Okay……so what CAN you do!”
It can be annoying when I am feeling weak but that is also what makes it such a powerful tool because it also helps me CUT THE CRAP!!! when I am really just trying to weasel out of a workout.
I can take an honest look at and admit sometimes I do want to weasel out of it. Working out is hard work. But, my real personality away from the size on the tag or the number on the scale is one who does not shy away from hard work. Of course, fibromyalgia has tempered my ability to workout hard but it will never take my spirit to work as hard as I can.
I ain’t no weak girl–body, mind, spirit, and heart. My hubs says this is one of the sexiest things about me. So, I have to play to this strength to increase my chances of success.
Chris put Bob on a bike to reduce the stress to his knees. By the looks of Bob’s arms after the show–the man has some GUNS–he also did a lot of upper body work on days when his knees weren’t too happy.
I do not have a bike–yet. Does that let me off the hook?
There are days when that knee hurts extra, super, and a lot that the only thing I do at the gym is arms and abs. It is what I CAN do…for that day. I have decided, with their help, my knee is not a reason to avoid the gym. And you know what? Under the fluff, there are some muscles growing. Even with over 100 pounds of excess weight, I can see shape and form and I can absolutely feel the added strength and stamina.
Having knee pain and having fibromyalgia and RECLAIMING my body is about what I CAN do and not how these things hold me back.
Cut the crap…get moving in whatever way you can!
All images and illustrations courtesy of Quality Stock Photos.