Sometimes making a commitment to get healthy involves a lot more than we originally expected. The sacrifices you have to make along the way can challenge you to give up things that you have clung to for years. For me, the journey of getting out of debt and losing weight requires serious focus to achieve the end result. If my life feels out of balance in one area, my goals will be harder to reach.
For example, recent distractions have caused me to feel out of sync. The political debate facing our country and being shared all over Facebook has caused a great divide not just among political leaders, but also friends. Those you have been close with for years can get under your skin based on comments and opinions. We are all entitled to our political views, but yesterday I hit my breaking point after reading all of them. I felt frustrated that every time I got on Facebook I was flooded with people pointing fingers, political memes, and the like. I love my friends dearly, but felt if I read one more comment from either side of the political spectrum, I would unfriend half the people on my list. Therefore, I made a choice. It is their Facebook and they are entitled to say what they want on it. I don’t have the right to stop them, that is the beauty of free speech. I do, however, have the ability to choose what I read and don’t read. So for the first time since I joined Facebook on November 5, 2005, I decided to take a break. My husband laughed and said it would take just a day before I caved. He knows I am slightly addicted! I check in first thing in the morning, every time I get a notification on my iPhone throughout the day, and right before bed. It is amazing just how much something can consume you if you get it power.
I have him to thank for making that comment and challenging me to think about just how true that is. He’s right I do want to cave. The first thing I thought this morning was, “I wonder how my friends and family are doing on Facebook.” I wanted to sign in, but was reminded of my husband’s words. Last night, I told myself that along with doing a 30 minute workout for 30 days in August, I would also take a break from Facebook for this amount of time to unwind and rejuvenate. To focus my attention on the things that matter most in my life right now. To give my desire to get out debt and lose weight the attention both of these things deserve. To allow people in my life the freedom to say what they want without feeling personally hindered and frustrated by their words. To use the extra time in my life to fuel my body to accomplish greater things. To spend more time blogging and connecting with others on a similar journey. Lastly, to unplug from the distractions and tap into other sources that can bring positive words during this season of my life.
As a result, I hope when I return to Facebook that I am filled with a renewed sense of peace. That I can take my friends words more lightheartedly and with a sense of humor. And most importantly, that I will be less consumed by Facebook on a daily basis and able to continue focusing my attention on restoring my life to a place of wholeness.
Today is August 1st. As promised, I jumped on the treadmill to begin my 30 minutes for 30 days routine. The first song that played on my iPhone got me so motivated that I knew it would be a good work out from the start. Sometimes there are just songs you want to play over and over during a certain time in your life. For me, Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” is one of them. It’s no surprise he celebrates having the highest Facebook likes as an artist with 60.1 million followers. Congrats Eminem! Thanks for the motivation I needed today!
Look, if you had, one shot, or one opportunity
To seize everything you ever wanted, one moment
Would you capture it?
Or just let it slip, yo
As these words ran over and over in my head, I couldn’t help but remind myself that this is my one opportunity. This is my chance to get healthy. The perfect opportunity while I am still young to get a grip on my health before it diminishes completely. The chance to change my legacy before I have children so I can bring them into the world at a time when I feel full of life and fit enough to play and run with them. The chance to do something big for myself so I don’t have to look back on my life with regret.
You better lose yourself in the music
The moment, you own it, you better never let it go
You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
This opportunity comes once in a lifetime, yo
You can do anything you set your mind to, man
As these words played, I ran harder and harder. I cranked my music up, closed my eyes, and lost myself in the music. And in that moment, just like the song says, I truly felt that I could do anything I set my mind to!
So I decided to stop having a pity party and come out of hiding! The past two weeks have been spent frustrated over the fact that after only doing Weight Watchers for a few weeks, I plateaued! Yes, the word we all love to hate, happened to me at just 13 pounds. This is the same dreaded number I was stuck at last time when I attempted the South Beach diet. There must be something about the unlucky 13 that stops me right in my tracks and discourages me from going past it. I stopped writing down my points for two weeks out of spite and managed to keep the pounds off, but I didn’t lose more. Yesterday, I told myself that it was now or never. I had a choice to make and I could either stop at 13 (very far away from my goal) or suck it up and get back to it. So I got off the couch and decided that the weight loss needed a little shove. I needed to do a little more than just watch my food intake because my body was revolting against change and needed a boost.
In that moment, I choice to jump on the treadmill and run it off. Those words sicken me even as I type them. If anyone knows me, they know I hate the treadmill. It seems like a torture device used to eagerly remind anyone who gets on it just how out of shape they really are. Yesterday, was no exception as I slowly warmed up hoping the 30 minutes I committed to in my head would quickly pass. Before long my body was going to the rhythm of the cardio workout music on my iPhone and I didn’t seem to notice the time as much. After I got home, my shoulders and neck were stiff and sore (the aftermath of being in a serious car accident), but I popped a couple of pain meds and went to bed.
Today, I grabbed my tennis shoes vowing to do it all again. I managed to turn my music back on and pound out another 30 minutes. For some, that may not seem like a lot, but for others like me who have faced any kind of injury or are not used to exercising, it is an accomplishment. After today’s workout, I decided I needed to create a goal in order to push myself everyday in August. I told myself I would do 30 minutes on the treadmill for each day of the month. However, since there are 31 days, I think I will just reward myself by relaxing on the last day for a job well done!
“An apple a day keeps the doctor away.” – Benjamin Franklin
Have you had yours today? Sometimes we just need a little reminder to grab something healthy out of the cupboard. The small decisions you make today have a great impact on the future. Even if you can’t see the outcome, don’t give up! All it takes is one small step after another until you’ve reached your destination.
In obedience class today with our newest rescue, Molly, I was reminded how repetition is the only way to truly train a dog to do new tricks. This process is time consuming and requires complete dedication on behalf of the owner. Molly can be very stubborn, both due to her breed and personality. She picks up quickly on new commands, but requires consistent reminders to continue following through. She would prefer to do things her way, but is a much more focused dog when submitting to structure.
In class, one of the other dog owners mentioned how Molly looks like she has lost weight since they first met her. I’m excited to say that she is down three pounds since we first adopted her. The consistent training and exercise is helping her become a much healthier dog. I felt proud that all our hard work hadn’t gone unnoticed.
Being in class today reminded me of my own need for repetition in my weight loss journey. Just like Molly, I too can be stubborn and need reminders to achieve my goals and become healthier. Charles Givens says, “Achieve success in any area of life by identifying the optimum strategies and repeating them until they become habits.” If I expect to help Molly change for the better, I must also be willing to do the same in my own life. I have always been a person that feels it is best to lead by example. While Molly may not understand that I am on the same path as her, I will at least know I am not requiring her to do something that I am unwilling to do myself. As she continues on her training schedule, I am also teaching myself new tricks in order to build healthier habits and achieve desired results. I signed Molly up for obedience class because I thought it would help her, little did I know, I would also be in training.
“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”
– Dave Ramsey
Since hearing this quote several years ago, my life has been changed. Not immediately, but through a slow refining process that continues to mold and shape me into the person I want to be. Just like restoring an old car back to its former glory, sometimes we too must be changed. For me, the start of my restoration began with the desire to unload debt in order to live a life of freedom. I was straight out of college, single, and working my first real job. I casually used part of my income to pay off a few things. A couple years later I met my husband, Brandon and we continue the journey together. During this process, we were down to one income while my husband finished college. Pinching pennies doesn’t really even sum up the struggle we faced during the first part of our marriage. Times were tight on one income, but we continued to remain united and focused on our goal. In July, we will celebrate our third wedding anniversary, almost $30,000 lighter than when we first began. The road is still long with $60,000 in school loans left to unload, but we plan to remain intense and focused on the road ahead of us.
Our adventures to getting get out of debt sparked in me the desire to see other areas of my life changed and renewed for the better. Through a series of unfortunate events that occurred over a fifteen year process; my sister passing away in high school, ended friendships, a car accident that caused a back and knee injury, and the most recent, a diagnosis of insulin resistance, my weight ballooned to the highest it had been in my life. For a long time, I had accepted this as normal. Yes, I was frustrated by it and I tried several doctors, a gluten free diet, and medication. Yet, no real change was occurring in my life. I was struggling in my career as a Social Worker feeling burnt out and unable to sleep at night. My physical and emotional health was off track and I knew I needed to do something to fix it.
In January, I took a break from social work to spend more time focusing on my life/work balance. I needed less hours on the road and away from home. My body was craving for me to slow down and I knew it was now or never. After getting a different job, I’ve been able to spend more time at home with my husband and the two dogs we rescued Pandi (July 2010) and Molly (April 2012) with thyroid problems and weight issues. Over the course of two years Pandi has lost almost 20 pounds and Molly has lost a few pounds in the two months since we adopted her. We have worked so hard to see them reach new healthy milestones and I have been so proud of the progress they have made.
However, it wasn’t until I changed jobs that I realized I was focusing all of my energy towards our debt, my desire to help others as a Social Worker, and our dog’s health and was neglecting my own well-being. Everything in our household was getting better, but me. It took reading about a friend’s weight loss journey that inspired my desire to do something for myself. A few weeks ago I took the plunge and joined Weight Watchers. I was skeptical at first because every other diet and personal training sessions I tried were always to no avail. Yet, after losing my first ten pounds almost immediately, I was hooked. I am so confident now in my ability to lose weight that I plan to write about it. My intent is not only to write about my journey to renewed health, but to include the process of bringing our household to full restoration. For me, that includes my journey, our dogs, and our financial health.
Most people are saddened to hit their 30th birthday, but when I celebrated mine in January I felt my life was just beginning. I am fed up with the excuses that got me to this point and I hope you will join me in marking this year as the start of something wonderful!