About two months ago I wrote this post in response to an image that went viral regarding the inner thoughts on fitness at one of my favorite (ish, it's kinda falling in favor) lifestyle brands. This post has quickly become one of my most read posts and I still stand behind every last word. But perhaps the reason the posted images bother me so much is I can't stand the idea of bullying ones self.
At one point I really enjoyed "reading" magazines, especially fashion magazines. But overtime I realized what I thought I was getting enjoyment out of actually made me very sad. I'm never going to be the type of person who buys $1,500 pairs of shoes or fits into a size two skirt. These magazines, some of them at least were about a lifestyle that would never be mine and it made me sad. As I have gotten older in life I have realized this: there will always be someone richer, thinner, faster, smarter and more whatever than me, I can constantly compare myself to others and be unhappy in my own life or I can focus on myself. Does having a penthouse in Manhattan and shopping on 5th Avenue sound like fun, sure but you know what the far less glamorous life I lead is pretty chalk full of blessings. But this post isn't about my shopping habits, I'm just setting a tone of looking within instead of around.
So back to fitness. I do not like the show "The Biggest Loser", and it's not because I would be a prime candidate for the show. I do not like the attitude it shows. I've never been a tough love person and I consider myself to be of above average intelligence, I don't need the emotional drain of someone yelling in my face the things that could happen if I don't lose weight or berating me for my past behaviors. Losing weight I have realized is largely a mental feat. At the end of the day it's math, burn more calories than consumed and lose weight. I know this, math is not a problem area for me y'all. It's the emotions that make it very tricky. At some point I decided to stop letting my past failures define me. Right now I'm participating in the Women's Run / Walk program in Memphis. I'm not the fittest person out there, I'm not the fastest, I'm not even taking the least walking breaks but I'm there.
Last year I attempted the program. I'm 30 I thought, age is on my side, how hard can this be? WRONG! So hard. Last year certainly knocked me down a few pegs as far as thinking myself young and invincible. For starters, I injured my knee last June from a fall. For three days hobbling to the bathroom was a painful, tearful, exhausting event but eventually I felt better, or so I thought. And then I tried to run, OMG it hurt. It hurt so very bad and not just a this is your body getting used to this hurt, it hurt MORE with each run and so with insurance on my new job kicking in I went to the dr and started physical therapy. I had heard before that PT hurts but honestly I never believed it, I hope it's something I never find myself doing again. I would be sore for two days after a session and leave with a stronger limp than when I arrived. I admit, I spent most of the past year in a don't disturb the dragon mindset when it came to exercise and my knee.
But things changed this year. As many of you know, because I post about it often, I got into a more natural / healthy mindset. While before I would be happy to take a pill (or 8) for any minor discomfort that came into my life I now pride myself on the ability to heal myself naturally and manage any nuisance that may arise without a trip to the pharmacy. I've changed my attitudes towards food, toward my spending habits and life in general. For years I was always one who focused on things vs experiences; I think a part of that is a Louis Vuitton purse is not something you really "share" and as I have someone in my life I truly want to share experiences with they have become more important to me. (side note, that LV purse I spent 30 years wanting so badly is actually lost in my house, don't get me wrong I want it - I earned it after all, but I don't find it nearly as fulfilling as I had thought I would). And so with this new focus I have come to see the things I am missing out on. One of my goals for 2016 (late 2016 but still 2016) is that I want to go on a hiking trip to Fall Creek Falls and see the various waterfalls. I came upon this trip when researching ideas for an anniversary trip for Shaun and I to take this past June and I sadly realized that although it is listed as an "easy to moderate" hiking trip it is not something either of us are in a physical condition to handle, and so I want to be in that condition. But this is where my mindset and approach comes into play, I don't need / want someone yelling in my face about the things I can't do - I want the mindset that I deserve these things. I work hard, I'm a good person - I deserve a nice trip, I deserve to fit into the beautiful silk tops carefully packed away and stored at my Dad's house, I deserve to not miss out of fun activities because I feel too self conscious to leave my house (yes, this happens) , in short I deserve happiness.
I will never be perfect, no one is, and so I can't embrace a mindset that thrives on pointing out ones flaws and focuses on failures. Can I run a 5K today? Absolutely not, but can I run longer than two weeks ago - yep. Last night when I pulled into training I realized the crowd was significantly smaller than the first week - I felt like a champion just for showing up! And as I ran when it was time to run and walk when it was time to walk I realized that sometimes I passed people who were thinner than me, younger than me and sometimes they passed me but it didn't matter, no one was looking around at others (well, the coaches do try to be encouraging and take notice of people who fall behind) I wasn't the only one breathing heavy, or bothered by the extreme heat. But I can't view this as punishment; I'm not there to burn off the chocolate lava cake from Fleming's (anyone who says nothing taste as good as thin feels, have you had this? have you????) I'm there to learn from the coaches, to go further and run longer than the week before. After-all, are people more likely to participate in being punished or doing something they enjoy?
Earlier photos from last night were posted and of course I had to compare it to my photo from last year. Sure I could see how I've grown in size and cry over it or how I could think about how in last year's photo I was really struggling and in this year's photo I had the energy to pretend to be having fun for the camera.
I spent a few minutes looking at the picture and I realized that in this year's full pic there's a coach behind me that last year walked with me when I skipped a running set when my knee had a sharp pain, this year no one had to stop and check on me. To the outside world I may look bigger, slower and hopeless but on the inside I know that I am stronger and in a better place to tackle the challenge, I know that I am worth it.