Previously, I discussed both growing up with diet mentality and the difference between a diet and a lifestyle change. I know I will always battle diet mentality but I hope that by following a healthy eating regime that focuses on strengthening my body, that at some point I will shake loose of that destructive way of thinking.
In some ways however I am grateful for those inner voices which pushed me to change my life. I might still be sitting on the couch if they hadn’t. I might still be trying to ignore and forget about the health risks I was facing and the various ailments I was suffering from.
What really pushed me to make some serious life changes however were the following:
My Family: I have 2 awesome boys, a wonderful and supportive husband and 6 cats (yes you heard that right). When I stopped to really assess my situation last year, I could see that I was letting them down in a big way. Not only was I setting a bad example through all the poor health choices I was making, I was also affecting their diet and health with the food I was making. Due to chronic pain in my knee and my ankle(s), I found myself more and more limited in terms of what we could do physically as a family and my husband kept taking places off our list for vacations as he was pretty sure I wasn’t mobile enough to manage them.
My Health: I had to face this last year however it’s still difficult to write down all the health issues I was either facing or suffering from. I was in denial – no question. From chronic pain, terrible indigestion, sleeplessness, stress, high blood pressure and facing diabetes and worse .. I was in rough shape. Sometimes it’s too hard to face what you need to face but in my case it was either I faced reality or I was going to have deal with worse.
Poor Life Satisfaction: I was pretty low last year. From work issues to health issues to just feeling stalled out, I think I was in a funk for a long time. I remember waking up one morning in the beginning of March last year and thinking … Is this it?? Is this the life I am meant to lead? Sad, sick and stressed? I wanted more from my life – from me – and I knew that how I was living my life had to change in order for that to happen. Some things were beyond my control but it was time I took responsibility for what was in my control to change.
So after spending some time reflecting on what it was I actually wanted to get out of my life I of course, being the all or nothing girl, I changed my lifestyle overnight. It’s not for everyone but it works for me. When I decide it’s time to make a change, I am not one to wait or sit around debating it to death. It’s action time. Time to go. Time to set some goals. Just making the decision to change lifted my spirits so much that I was able to transition fairly easily from couch potato to gym rat.
At 255 lbs I wasn’t thin or anywhere near being in shape but that didn’t stop me. I started working out 4+ times a week and I discovered that by getting regular exercise, not only was my body benefitting, but so did my mood. I was happier. More energetic. I found after workouts I was much less inclined to sit for any length of time and I wanted to be active and busy. My mind, so cluttered previously with sad and nasty thoughts, got clear and quiet. I liked myself again and it showed in everything I did and all the people I interacted with.
It’s January now, 10 months later, and I don’t regret my decision to get fit for a second. I continue my workout schedule of 4+ times a week and for the first time since my teens I consider myself an athlete. Yup, I said it. I am an ATHLETE. Working out saved me – it saved my sanity and it has strengthened my body. My husband has added all those vacation spots back onto our list and he no longer worries if I can manage them. Now he is working out with me to make sure he can keep up!
*Photo Credit: Stacy Anderson Photography