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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Working Through the Bumps in the Road

This blog is all about my journey to find a new me.  To find the better pieces of myself that have been buried inside of me for so long.  And, overall, I have been, and continue to be, enormously successful.  

You may have to fight a battle 
more than once to win it.

I've always struggled with my weight.  These last two years have been full of so many amazing feelings, achievements, etc for me.  However, it isn't always sunshine and rainbows.  I go through difficult times, have rough days, etc.  And even I've gone through a slump or two with eating, exercising and living an overall healthy lifestyle.  It's not easy.  I think that's why so many struggle to do it.  It takes a commitment to live a healthy life.  One that you have to be in the right frame of mind to make.  Along the way, I've learned that I can't do this to get ready for a big event and then revert back to my old ways.  It will bite me in my ass and, at times, it has.  I have definitely been going through a bit of a slump since the beginning of the year with regards to living a healthy lifestyle.  Maybe it's the cold (which I hate), maybe it's emotional stuff, it could be a multitude of things.  But, I recognize it.  For me, that's step one.   I get comfortable with the way I live, what I've been doing to achieve this healthy lifestyle.  And that always (at least for me) makes me think I'm good to go.  But, I'm not.  I'm human.  And I have always had a somewhat unhealthy addiction to food.  It's comforting to me (although I wish it weren't).  It's a decision I make every day to not go grab a candy bar when I get stressed out.  Every day I figure out a little bit more that I CAN do this.  That a healthy lifestyle is my decision to make every day.  I love the way I feel when I eat the way I know I should.  Do I have cheat days?  Absolutely.  But the difference, I think, is that I can go right back to eating the way that I should on a regular basis.  That's definitely been the difference in maintaining a majority of the weight loss I've achieved.  Over the last few weeks, I've made a conscious effort to getting back to truly being mindful of my health and what I am putting in my body.  I never completely lost sight of it, I just had a few more cheat days than I should have.  And, deep down, I knew it.  But, I've always been someone who has to figure things out in time.  

Throughout my adventures in the last 2 years, I've developed a love for exercising I didn't know I had inside of me.  I love challenging myself and I actually like when I am sore because I know I am doing things I haven't done before (and working muscles that I haven't used in a long time).  It's a huge stress relief.  There are days I don't feel like going.  But, once I force myself, I always end up enjoying it.  And feeling like I achieved something when I leave.  Unless it involves burpees.  Those are cruel. I have figured out that I struggle to challenge myself.  So, I've ventured out to find a way to (maybe) meet some new people and get my butt kicked a little.  So far, it's working.  As I type this my quads are quite sore!  I've found enjoyment with indoor cycling and I really look forward to going.  Also, I hate the treadmill.  I guess the point is, find what works for you.  Some people do really well working out alone and still challenging themselves.  I'm not one of them.  Sure, I work out  on my own but it's nowhere near as difficult as it could (and probably should) be.  Once you find something you like, you're much more likely to stick with it.  Imagine if I kept pushing myself to get on the treadmill every day.... I would say there's a pretty good chance I would have given up on it by now.

Why write about this now?  Because I think it's important for anyone on a journey to change his/her life or for someone about to embark on one to understand that there will be bumps in the road and that's okay.  It's not about how many bumps you go through.  It's about how you work your way through them and find yourself on the other side.  Each time I work my way through a bump in the road, I become just a little bit stronger.  And strength feels amazing.

Good habits are as addictive 
as bad habits, and a lot more rewarding.

Friday, March 6, 2015

You'll Just Know...

You will know you made the right decision; you feel the stress leaving your body, your life.

I pinned this quote about a month ago and immediately people started pinning it from me.  It's funny how something as small as a quote can relate people who never have (and never will) meet.   It completely spoke to me the first time I read it.  So, I thought I would write about how it speaks to me.

In the last two years I have had to make more difficult decisions than I ever thought I would have to make in my lifetime.  In one way or another, every single one of them has made me a better person.  Maybe better isn't the right word.  I think stronger is more accurate.  And confident.  Two years ago, making decisions was one of the most difficult things for me to do.  Many times, it was because I didn't have the confidence to believe that anyone really cared what I thought.  I would just blend in, go along with the majority and never speak my mind.  Even though I had opinions, I never had the confidence to voice those opinions.  

Making the decision to start working on bettering myself was one of the most difficult choices I've ever made.  I had to really look inside myself and decide if I was willing to put myself out there and open up in ways I never had before.  As I've said before, it was the best choice I've ever made.  It has allowed me to find my health, real and true happiness, friendships, happiness in my career again and so much more.  It didn't all happen at once.  But, as soon as I made the decision and took some steps to start to make some of my hopes and dreams into reality, I truly did feel the stress leave my body.  And it got better each and every day.  I was less short with people.  I smiled so much more than I ever thought possible (and I have a pretty natural smile).  And there was actual happiness behind that smile.  It wasn't fake the way it had been for so long.  

I guess that's one thing that has stuck with me the most.  Happiness doesn't come from looking good on the outside.  It helps a little.  But, I still am extremely hard on myself and see a very distorted image when I look in the mirror.  I have figured out that true happiness comes from a multitude of places.  It comes from being confident with who you are.  With where you are in your life.  And with where you are going.  Goals are so important.  They give you something to focus on and shoot for.  And, something to celebrate.  I've learned to celebrate and be happy about little and big things.  And I laugh at myself.  A lot.  I used to be so uptight about everything in life.  And, although I still like my routines, I am much more laid back than I used to be.  I consider it such a blessing that I was able to discover that part of myself.  Better late than never, right?

I've learned how to enjoy the simple things in life.  One of my favorite things in life is being an aunt.  Being around my four favorite people on a regular basis gives me so much joy.  They remind me of simpler times in life.  And I love running around and playing all kinds of games with them.  Cooper remembers me 2 years ago.  And he makes comments every once in awhile that let me know he's noticed the changes I've made.  Although my nieces will never know the old me, I know all my experiences will be things I can share with them as they grow up.  

It's amazing what it feels like when all that stress does leave your life.  I still have my days when I struggle with emotions, food, wanting to exercise, etc.  But, I've learned that's just part of life and it's okay.  I just pick myself up and move on to the next minute, hour, day, etc.  I can't put into words how much of a blessing that is for someone like me.  

Whatever you're trying to accomplish in your life, just know that anything is possible once you take the time to believe in yourself.