The Path

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Sometimes the path is rough. It’s not laid out like you may have planned.

Improvisation may be necessary.

That broken log? That’s just a way made by those who have gone before you. Be grateful.

See those rocks? They may look like stumbling blocks, but they may also be in just the right place to get you where you need to go.

Those pilings to the side? Perhaps the road not taken; for reasons we may never know.

The water may be cold, but how will you know if you don’t even try?

Can you make it to the other side? Can you take a chance? Even if the entire plan is not laid out for you to see?

Just try…

You are more capable than you believe.

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Arriving

July makes me reflective.

July 2011, I joined a “little workout class”, that forever changed the trajectory of my (and my family’s) life. The left side of this image is what I looked like at that time: (Note the TWO pieces of cake! Gross!)

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I was in a size 16 (barely), should have been a size 18, and was essentially numb to life and going through the motions. The minute that picture was snapped, my smile subsided. Enter bootcamp and learning to live a healthier lifestyle, the rest is history.

By February of 2012, I am at my fittest: (size 6-8)

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And this was taken just a couple of weeks ago: (size 8-10)

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Transitions, with regard to weight loss, are definitely messy with lots of highs and lows. There is no “Okay! I’ve hit my goal weight/size! Now I’m done with that!” and going back to being sedentary. Fitness is for life – as corny and cliche as that sounds. There is no finish line – it’s just the start of the next race. (Thank you Trainer Laurie Weber for that one!)

I’m going on two years of this “transition” or fitness path, and I don’t ever want to go back to the way I used to be. While there are and will be setbacks, there will also continue to be striving ahead, strength gains, and new goals. An on-going continuous way of living that will include moving my body (a lot!), moving heavy things, and eating! Eating good, tasty, and whole foods most of the time.

What I have discovered though, is that for this to be a sustainable, long-term way of living, things have to be in balance as much as possible. I have to enjoy what I’m doing. I refuse to minutely obsess about macronutrient ratios, cry when I don’t like what the scale says, or restrict food to bland chicken and broccoli every single night. (I haven’t weighed myself in over 2 months! Gasp!) I food log every few weeks when I need to gauge where I’m at if I need to, but I try to listen to my body and eat intuitively. (For more on listening to your body, check out Linda Bacon’s book “Health at Every Size: The Surprising Truth About Your Weight”.) While some may see this book as a “Just give up and eat whatever you want”, I do not.  I don’t believe dieting and restriction is a long term solution.

Bottom Line: Health is not an arrival point. There is no point B in fitness. You never arrive. It’s an on-going, continuous journey. And as much as I like the completeness of being at the destination, this is an area where I have to accept that it just doesn’t exist.

And that’s okay.

It Wasn’t All That Long Ago

I have labeled my son a “picky eater”. Much like his father, he prefers to eat only a few different foods, is reluctant to try new things, and detests condiments, sauces or dressings of any kind.

While not all of this is necessarily bad, as a parent, I see other kids happily gobbling down anything placed in front of them, my other child included. As a baby, I would introduce a food, he would spit it out, refuse it, etc., and then I wouldn’t offer it again thinking he didn’t like it and okay, off we go to the next new food to try. What I didn’t realize but later learned is that kids, as well as adults, often have to be exposed to a food 10-12 times before they can really decide if they like it. Familiarity is key. (When I pointed this out to my husband – a couple of weeks later, I caught him eating a banana. He has sworn he HATES bananas due to texture, but was giving this familiarity thing a try!)

Let me just say that this whole process is so foreign to me. I am an eater. To the point that I once had over 50 lbs to lose. Seriously?! I know my way around a fork. I think that may be why it’s so hard for me to wrap my mind around the fact that my son just has a narrow window of tastes right now.

As a result of this beating my head against the wall, I decided earlier this year to just relax about it. I always tried not to watch and wait to see if he’d try something new, or pressure or punish. But I know he was able to feel my frustration with his “selectivity”.

After a couple of months of “relaxing” about food, I’ve noticed some things. FIrst, when I do put a meal on the table, there is always at least 2 things he will eat and likes, plus 1 new thing. He doesn’t have to eat it, but does have to sniff it, lick it, or bite it. If he doesn’t like it after that, okay. So far he has tasted brussels sprouts, roasted broccoli (4 WHOLE BITES!) and zucchini bread. He passed on the brussels sprouts (so did his sister), but we’ve made it a game of “try the new crazy food mom has made!” They laugh and we keep it light as we chomp, crunch and tear through the food!

And more importantly, I’ve been remembering how far we’ve come. While at a restaurant, I overheard a mom ordering a root beer for her preschooler. In my mind, my first thought was NO! A preschooler doesn’t need soda! But I had to stop myself and take stock…(you know the verse: that pesky one about the stick in someone’s eye, but you’ve got a log in your own, or that other one about glass houses….)

It really wasn’t all that long ago that I drank soda at least weekly.

It really wasn’t all that long ago that I RARELY worked out.

It really wasn’t all that long ago that I could eat obscene amounts of really unhealthy food.

It wasn’t all that long ago that it didn’t occur to me that not every meal has to be a feast.

It wasn’t all that long ago that I didn’t know I should be reading ingredients and nutritional information.

It wasn’t all that long ago…for so many things.

It wasn’t all that long ago that I began MY journey. My journey isn’t going to be like anyone else’s.

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Here’s to me getting that log out of my eye, setting my rocks down, and grabbing some Windex to wipe down my shiny glass house!

The One I Don’t Want to Write

I lost 50lbs.

We moved almost a year ago. I gained 8 lbs. The hubbs deployed.  Then 12 lbs more creeped on. Old habits resurfaced.

I thought I had this. I thought it was “under control”. My eating has not been on point – completely hit and miss. My exercise – meh. I’ve done some little 5ks here and there, but honestly – I’m pushing through – not all that excited or motivated. About any of it. The races I had signed up for were really the only thing keeping at least one of my feet on the right track. I’m definitely not working out at the level I was.

I know part of it is the deployment. Much of it is the dark at 3pm, cold and I have no energy. I feel like I’ve lost a bit of my fire. I look back at old posts, magic marathon moments….the excitement is remarkable. I still tear up when I see the marathon pictures. I feel like I’ve let people down in a way. Not that I’m perfect or don’t have failings, but I guess I just felt like “I got this”.

I don’t.

I have to get back to basics. Do the things I know I need to do to get my weight and health back on track. I refuse to be the person I was before 2011.

Which brings me to the subject of failure. I like to succeed. I like it when things are going great – the goals are being met, the PRs are happening all the time, consistent improvement, when things are in control. I may be a slight control freak…..

I have to remind myself that failure only happens when I stop trying. It won’t happen if I continue to lace up my shoes and get in the runs. Failure can’t catch me if I keep getting up and trying again. And again. And again. Never stopping. Resting from time to time, healing, listening to my body – of course. But not stopping. Never giving up.

I had set out to get certified this year to become a personal trainer. It didn’t happen. I have the materials – and I will take the test eventually. It is still the long term goal, but I feel like I had to take a pause of sorts. The things I had in mind for “getting done” this deployment just became back burner. This deployment took so much of my energy. I felt like I just needed to survive. There wasn’t anything left for thriving.

Tomorrow my husband returns. And while I will not be one of those wives whose life stops when the deployment starts, I do find that with littles, it’s harder than I had expected. Much of my energy is consumed by them. And that is how it should be. There is a time for everything.

I am a better parent, wife, friend, etc., when my health is on track. (And I’m much nicer at the grocery store!) While this “home port visit” will be entirely too short, I know it will be the welcome reprieve to readjust, reevaluate, run, workout and reset some priorities. I want to make this time I have count to give me that boost to thrive instead of just survive the last leg of this deployment period.

I’ve “survived” in an unhealthy way for a decade. I thrived for a year.

It’s time to thrive once again.